Peter Halasz

Conductor

Péter Halász was born in 1976 in Budapest. After studying piano and composition in his native city, he went on to study conducting under Leopold Hager at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. He took master’s courses as a pupil of Bernard Haitink. Péter acquired a great deal of further knowledge from Ádám Fischer, to whom he acted as assistant at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt.

After completing his studies, in 2002/03 he worked as a répétiteur in the studio of the Zurich Opera House. Between 2003/04 and 2011 he was engaged by the Mainz State Opera first as a répétiteur and later as a conductor. During this period he acquired a wide repertoire ranging from baroque to modern music.

From May 2011 Péter was the principal conductor of the Aachen Opera and the Aachen Symphony Orchestra, and in January 2013 he became deputy music director. In Aachen he conducted the premieres of Rossini’s La La Cenerentola, Poulenc’s La Voix humaine, Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, performances of, among others, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Bizet’s Carmen, and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, as well as numerous concerts. His work on the Aachen premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s 2011 opera, Superflumina, received excellent reviews throughout Germany. In 2014 he conducted Alcina in Aachen, continuing the Händel cycle started in 2013 with Ariodante.

2013 – Péter made his debut at the Hungarian State Opera at the invitation of Ádám Fischer in 2010. After many performances as guest conductor (Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Puccini: La Bohème and Turandot, Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro), he was appointed the Hungarian State Opera’s acting music director in 2013. The following year, he was promoted to music director, a position which he held until his resignation in 2016.

During the aforementioned period, Péter augmented the orchestra with many new members. He founded the Orchestra Academy for young musicians who are just starting out on their careers and also expanded the repertoire with contemporary pieces.

As the Hungarian State Opera’s music director, Péter conducted a number of successful premieres in Budapest. The first of these was Verdi’s Falstaff in 2013, which was followed the next year by the first ever performance in Hungary of Richard Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten, which enjoyed a fantastic reception from critics and audiences alike. In the 2014/15 season Péter presented Cosí fan tutte in collaboration with Academy Award-winning director Jiri Menzel and he conducted the first hungarian performance in seventy years of Weber’s Der Freischütz. 2015 also saw the inception of a brand-new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle with Das Rheingold, which was followed by Die Walküre in 2016, and Siegfried in 2017. When in 2016, Thomas Adès’ The Tempest received its first ever Eastern European performance, it was the first occasion on which a contemporary international opera had been performed at the State Opera House in decades. Alongside all of these notable works, during this period Péter also conducted repertoire performances of – among others – Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Traviata,and Nabucco, Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Tschaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Among his appearances as opera conductor, Péter has led performances at the Hamburg State Opera (Puccini’s Manon Lescaut), the Karlsruhe State Theatre (Wagner’s Das Rheingold), and the Kassel State Theatre (Puccini’s La Bohéme).

In recent years, Péter has worked together with such singers as Angela Gheorghiu, Anja Kampe, Ailyn Pérez, Linda Watson, Vesselina Kassarova, Ildikó Komlósi, Piotr Beczala, Marcello Giordani, Adrian Erőd, Ambrogio Maestri, Egils Silins, Feruccio Furlanetto, and Tomasz Konieczny.

Péter has appeared as a guest conductor for numerous German, Hungarian, Austrian, and Czech orchestras. In the past few years, he has given concerts together with the Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the MAV Symphony Orchestra Budapest, the Aachen Symphony Orchestra, and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, collaborating with such soloists as Tzimon Barto, Miklós Perényi, and Plácido Domingo.

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Reviews

May 2017 Christophe Rizoud

Forumopera

Das Rheingold

The musical direction of Péter Halász knows how to accord the same importance to the words, which are so essential in this founding prologue, as to the notes without neglecting the symphonic occasions slipped in here and there by Wagner to move the orchestra forward. From the meaningful E flat major at the beginning until the monumental Walhalla music at the end, the orchestral pâté is eloquent and dense without being cloying, the flawless Badische Staatskapelle always appropriates the narration.

 

 

March 2017 Jörn Florian Fuchs

Deuschlandradio Kultur

Siegfried

Thanks to Péter Halász’s euphoric yet clear and precise conducting, the Budapest Ring possesses a unique dimension and quality – and reaches the standard of the opera houses of Frankfurt or Stuttgart.

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Murat Karahan photo 2