Welsh musicians playing Hungarian carols? Hungarians singing in Welsh? As the world prepares to spend the holidays at home, here’s a quick taster of the many incredible performances you can expect to hear at our Welsh-Hungarian Concerts, once things go back to normal.
[Saesneg yn unig | English only | Csak angolul]
Nadolig Llawen, Merry Christmas, boldog karácsonyt!
Let’s build bridges between our cultures! 🏴🇭🇺
Croeso | Welcome | Üdvözlet
Welcome to our first ever virtual Welsh-Hungarian Christmas Concert, featuring a range of musical performances from across Wales and Hungary. Every year, we come together in Cardiff and Kunágota – Hungary’s “Welshest village” – to celebrate everything Welsh-Hungarian and to build bridges between our cultures through the one language we have in common: music.
This Christmas is like no other. As COVID-19 takes its unpredictable course and we watch the events unfold from the comfort of our homes, we invite you to join us for a range of Welsh and Hungarian musical performances, available on-demand below.
1. Csendes éj | Tawel Nos | Silent Night –
Ceri Davies & Elizabeth Sillo
To kick off, this truly Welsh-Hungarian performance by acclaimed Welsh tenor Ceri Davies and Hungarian mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Sillo shows what building bridges between our cultures is all about.
Ceri – singing in Hungarian and English – is a Wales International Academy of Voice (WIAV) student from West Wales; while Hungarian-born Elizabeth – singing in Welsh – is a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales.
2. Tua Bethlem Dref – Dr Hajnal Lehóczky
Besides being a doctor, Budapest-born mezzo-soprano Dr. Hajnal Lehóczky has captivated the audience with her beautiful performance of Welsh-language hymns a few times in the past. Hajnal is a soloist of the Doctor-Musicians’ Society in Budapest and has been one of the most enthusiastic participants at our Welsh-Hungarian concerts in Hungary.
3. Mennyből az angyal – Kodály Kids Cymru & Dorothy Singh
It’s not often you see a group of incredibly talented kid violinists playing Hungarian Christmas carols in a Carmarthenshire village. That is, unless you visit Kodály Violin School in Llandybïe – run by the amazing Dorothy Singh! An ex-BBC violinist, Dorothy has a passion for everything Hungarian, and has been an accompanist at various Welsh-Hungarian concerts in Wales, in Budapest and even in Kunágota.
4. O Ddwyfol Nos – Mia Peace
For those who joined us for our last Welsh-Hungarian Concert in Cardiff, “Cwpan Côr Bro Cyfeiliog” trophy-winner Mia Peace’s name is bound to ring a bell! A fluent Welsh speaker, the gifted young soprano also volunteers as a Welsh-language advisor to the Kodály Violin School in Llandybïe.
5. Ó, jöjj, ó jöjj, Üdvözítő – Elizabeth Sillo
Born in Kunágota in southeast Hungary – now known as Hungary’s “Welshest village” – classical singer Elizabeth Sillo is a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales. A former Cardiff resident, she is best known as the organiser of several successful Welsh-Hungarian Concerts in the Welsh capital, as well as in Kunágota and nearby villages.
6. Pásztorok, pásztorok – Kodály Kids Cymru & Dorothy Singh
Another Hungarian Christmas classic, performed by the wonderful Kodály Kids Cymru. Director Dorothy Singh has been teaching children from across Carmarthenshire for many years at Kodály Violin School in Llandybïe – and there’s always space for some Hungarian music in their repertoire.
7. O Ddwyfol Nos – Ceri Davies
Talented tenor Ceri Davies is currently studying at the Wales International Academy of Voice (WIAV) and regularly performs all across the UK. A strong supporter of our efforts to build bridges between Wales and Hungary, Ceri feels honoured to be a part of this fantastic virtual celebration of the friendship between our two nations.
8. Cwm Rhondda – István Sipos & Emma Győri-Dani
While not so Christmas-y, we couldn’t leave out this wonderful recital of “Cwm Rhondda”, a well-known Welsh hymn, by organist István Sipos and flautist Emma Győri-Dani in the church of Battonya – a village near Kunágota in southeast Hungary.
As the video shows, István (a Budapest-born church choir conductor and organ builder) and Emma (a member of the Wind Orchestra of Orosháza) are true enthusiasts of Welsh classical music.
9. Ave Maria (Péter Wolf) – Lili Napsugár Putnoki
Following the success of last year’s Welsh-Hungarian Christmas Concert in Kunágota, word spread across Békés County and even to its capital Békéscsaba, where ambitious young singer Lili Napsugár Putnoki studies. Lili, a member of the city’s Béla Bartók Music Conservatoire, recorded a Christmas-themed rendition of Péter Wolf’s “Ave Maria” as a heartfelt gift to fellow musicians in far-away Wales.
Diolch | Thank you | Köszönet
We would like to thank all our incredibly talented friends in Hungary and Wales who have joined us over the last three years and supported our Welsh-Hungarian concerts in Cardiff, Kunágota and beyond…
- Dr Márta Minier: organiser; lecturer at University of South Wales
- Dorothy Singh: violin teacher and accompanist; Director fo Kodály Violin School
- Kodály Kids Cymru, Llandybïe, Carmarthenshire
- Balog Kata: organiser; Cardiff Hungarian Children’s Group
- Monika Morgans: organiser; Connect English Academy
- Cardiff Hungarian Children’s Group
- Cardiff Welsh Music Group
- Janet McDonald: mezzo-soprano; WIAV Saturday Academy, Cardiff
- Katinka Kürti: flautist, Cardiff
- Maria Balazs-Richards: invited guest presenter, London
- Róbert Szabó: invited guest presenter, Swansea
- Richard Parry: Welsh baritone, Parry & Glynn Artists, Cardiff
- Stella Bjoerkman: soprano, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
- Mia Peace: Welsh folk singer, Carmarthenshire
- Mark Jenkins: Welsh tenor, student of operatic tenor Dennis O’Neill
- David Hutchings: pianist, BBC National Chorus of Wales
- Emily Pugh: soprano, BBC National Chorus of Wales
- Benjamin Anthony: baritone, BBC National Chorus of Wales
- Dragoș Andrei Ionel: baritone, Opera Studio of Strasbourg Opera, Opera National du Rhin
- Orsolya Ferenczy: soprano, Szeged National Opera
- Davinder Singh: violinist, West Berkshire
- Diana Lednitzky: folk dance teacher, Bristol
- 1st Hungarian Hussar Banderium UK, Manchester
- Hungarian Cultural Community in Newport
- Bristol Hungarian School
- Majorette Club, Tótkomlós, Hungary
- Dr Hajnal Lehóczky: soloist, Doctor-Musicians’ Society, Budapest
- Anna Varga: soprano, Szeged National Opera
- Tamás Bonecz: tenor, Szeged National Opera
- Tamás Egresi: baritone, National “Honvéd” Male Choir, Budapest
- Nicholas Tsarouchas: boy treble; Welsh National Opera, Youth Opera Programme
- István Sipos: organist and church choir conductor, Battonya
- Emma Győri-Dani: flautist, Wind Orchestra, Orosháza
- Lili Napsugár Putnoki: singer, Béla Bartók Music Conservatoire, Békéscsaba
- Ceri Davies: tenor, Wales International Academy of Voice
- Andrew Rawlings: tenor, Wales International Academy of Voice
- Katalin Zsubrits: pianist, Wales International Academy of Voice
- Balázs Kálvin: pianist, Hungarian State Opera
- Adrian Partington: organist, Chorus Master of the BBC National Chorus of Wales
- Elizabeth Sillo: mezzo-soprano, BBC National Chorus of Wales
- Balint Brunner: Founder of Magyar Cymru.
We would also like to say thanks to Hugh Morgans, George Ösztreicher and Mr Alun Davies DL, the Honorary Consul of Hungary in Wales, for opening our concerts in Cardiff.
We are also grateful to Ernő Süli, former Mayor of Kunágota; Piroska Zoltánné Boldog, Notary of Kunágota council; Sándor Blás, Roman Catholic Priest in Kunágota; Attila Braun, Director of Bréda Castle in Lőkösháza; Sándor Orbán, Roman Catholic Priest in Mezőkovácsháza; István Bajnai Beke, Roman Catholic Canon in Battonya; Zoltán Pápai, current mayor of Kunágota and László Gábor, manager of the Kunágota Cultural House, for welcoming Welsh music in their venues.
Wondering what this all about? Read more about the success of our Welsh-Hungarian Concert in the idyllic village of Kunágota, southeast Hungary, this time last year.