literature, cinema, fine arts

Ottó Orbán

no interval
Festival Theatre
  • Produced by Müpa Budapest
  • Poetry Recitals At Müpa Budapest

Ticket prices

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Ottó Orbán, a major figure in contemporary Hungarian poetry and a huge presence on the Hungarian literature scene in general, passed away nearly 20 years ago. A decades-long illness left his body debilitated at a painfully early age, but the disease was incapable of breaking his razor sharp mind and brilliantly multifaceted poetry. He left us too soon, yet he was not unfulfilled. Indeed, he left us a diverse yet coherent body of work, capable of speaking to the widest possible range of readers.

One of the most vital properties of his poetry is that Orbán - just like one of his mentors, Sándor Weöres - was a superb quick-change artist, capable of implementing a wide variety of masks in his communication, ensuring that the voices in his poems also have a strikingly wide register. In addition to his tragic, hymnal, uplifting and abstract poetical voice, you can also detect an ever-present inclination towards the grotesque, a perspective capable of the sub-style of the language of the everyday - the base next to the majestic, near-sordid language next to the sublime, the serious or at times gloomy speech alongside irony and self-deprecation. Or something that is less common in Hungarian poetry: humour, the ability to weave words, demonstrated by his sparkling literary parodies; he was a superb writer in this genre, too, one of the last Hungarians to take the genre seriously.
Ottó Orbán fulfilled an intercultural, intermediary role between the classic modern and postmodern approaches to poetry. His poems are allied with the finest poetry traditions from Hungarian folk poetry and the American beat poets, welding the fecund influence of Ginsberg and Corso to Sándor Weöres's protean poetry. It is also clear that to the very end, Ottó Orbán stuck to the poetical concept that behind diversity and variety lies a 'fixed, radiating core', in an ontological and ethical sense, that tells us that aesthetically speaking, too, our lives are nothing without deeds. This event seeks to draw your attention to this gripping and engaging duality.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest
  • actor
    Kriszta Bíró
    László Gálffi
    Emőke Zsigmond
    Pál Mácsai
  • cello
    Alber Márkos
  • piano
    Máté Pozsár
  • Programme compiled and introduced by
    Péter Dérczy
  • Director
    Pál Mácsai

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