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József Katona

Bánk bán (The Viceroy Bánk) 16

Bánk bán (The Viceroy Bánk)

National Theatre, Budapest

Director: Attila Vidnyánszky

2 hours 20 minutes, without breaks.

Ban Bánk is one of the greatest masterpieces of Hungarian drama literature, on a par with Csongor and Tünde or The Tragedy of Man. In his review, Ferenc Kulin argues that the protagonist of József Katona's play did nothing else wrong, but trying to shake off the sweet chains of family commitments in order to fulfill his duties as a politician. Rather than committing a moral or legal infringement, he opposed the power of love, and therefore he was meted out a fate of complete destruction. In Katona's world, this endeavour, doomed to certain failure, is tragically symptomatic to modern existence, where man is forced to gave up spirituality for law and order.

Having started to write the first draft in 1814, József Katona's play was first published in Kecskemét, in 1820. The author did not live long enough to be present at the premiere, which took place in Kassa in 1833, and saw legendary actress Déryné play the part of Melinda. In Pest, the piece was first performed in 1834. The first show in the National Theatre occurred in 1839. On 15 March 1848, the National Theatre turned the play into a gala performance. After the years of repression following the Revolution, starting from 1858, Ban Bánk became a popular centrepiece of the repertoire of both the National Theatre and other theatres. Erkel Ferenc adapted the play into an opera (with the libretto signed by Béni Egressy), which premiered in the National Theatre in 1861.

Attila Vidnyánszky had already directed Ban Bánk as an opera piece and a play, this latter being performed in the National Theatre in 2002. This show, which featured an expressive reenactment of the civil war at the time, heavily divided the public and generated some extreme responses. The staging of the original Ban Bánk in the Csokonai Theatre of Debrecen was another bold gesture, and an event of historical significance for the Hungarian scene of classical music, as it featured the original musical construction by Ferenc Erkel and the libretto of Béni Egressy, providing a much closer interpretation of the play to what Katona had originally intended.

Attila Vidnyánszky proposes to adapt Ban Bánk to chamber theatre, offering to bring the dramatic tension, the language of utmost passion to the public, which, according to Antal Szerb, will bring about catharsis in its classical and tragical sense by "captivating the attention from the first to the last intonation". This approach will reveal whether it is still possible to present the web of interpersonal conflicts woven into the fabric of the play in a way as to make the younger generation perceptive to questions of national survival, with regard to both the present and the past.

Ban Bánk

László Mátray m.v.

Queen Gertrudis

Dorottya Udvaros


Andrea Söptei


Dénes Farkas

Biberach, Knight-Errant

Lajos Ottó Horváth

Isidora Bendeleiben, a Girl from Thuringia

Eszter Ács

Andrew II, King of Hungary

Tamás Szalma m.v.

Tiborc, a Peasant

József Varga

Ban Mikhál

József Rácz

Ban Simon

László Tóth

Ban Petur, Lord-Lieutenant of Bihar County

Tamás Olt m.v.

Elisabeth, Daughter of Gertrudis

Virág Wallisch

Soma, Son of Bánk

Őrs Teszársz /

Barna Szűcs

Béla, Son of Gertrudis

Buda Buzádi

Hungarian lords and meranians

Ádám Kornél m.v., Bölkény Balázs m.v., Cseke Lilla Csenge m.v.,
Herczegh Péter, Hermányi Mariann m.v., Karácsony Gergely m.v.,
Kisari Zalán m.v., Kocsis Gábor m.v., Kovács Panka v, Kovács S.
József, Mészáros Martin, Péteri Lilla m.v., Szász Júlia, Szurcsík
Ádám m.v.

Kornél Ádám e.h. m.v.

Balázs Bölkény m.v.

Lilla Csenge Cseke m.v.

Mariann Hermányi m.v.

Gergely Karácsony m.v.

Zalán Kisari m.v.

Gábor Kocsis m.v.

Panka Kovács m.v.

Lilla Péteri m.v.

Ádám Szúrcsík m.v.

Stage and Costume Design

Bilozub Olekszandr


Zsolt Szász

Stage Manager

Ágnes Lovass


Gabi Kónya

Assistant Director

Rita Herpai


Attila Vidnyánszky

Gobbi Hilda Stage
Attila Vidnyánszky

Attila Vidnyánszky

Hungarian theatre and opera director, teacher.

He was born in Berehove (Ukraine) in 1964.

He graduated in Hungarian literature and linguistics from Uzhhorod State University (1985). He taught literature and history for two years. In 1992, he graduated in theatre directing from the Karpenko-Kary State Academy of Theatre and Cinema in Kyiv.

In 1993, he founded his own company, the Gyula Illyés Hungarian National Theatre in Berehove, of which he is still the Principal Director.

In 2004, he was appointed Principal Director of the Hungarian State Opera House. In 2006 - 2013, he was Director of the Csokonai National Theatre in Debrecen.

Since 2013, he has been the Director General of the National Theatre. In 2014, he founded the National Theatre's MITEM festival (Madách International Theatre Meeting).

Since 2023, he has been a member of the International Theatre Olympics Committee and Artistic Director of the 2023 Budapest Theatre Olympics.

He has also directed at the National Academic Theatre in Kyiv (Leszya Ukrayinka Theatre), the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St Petersburg) and the Hungarian State Opera House.

His performances have toured Europe from Stockholm to Moscow and Tbilisi, from Strasbourg to Nancy and Kyiv.

He has received many awards, including Ukraine's Artist of Merit (2002), the Meyerhold Prize (2009, Moscow) and the Kossuth Prize (2011).

His films include Liberté 56, The Boy Who Turned into a Deer.

He has taught acting at the Karpenko-Kary State Academy of Theatre and Cinema in Kyiv and at the University of Kaposvár. Since 2020, he has been the master of a directing class at the University of Theatre and Film in Budapest.

He has been a member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts since 2005. In 2008, he co-founded the Hungarian Theatre Society and has been its President since. Between 2010 and 2013, he also served as Chairman of the Theatre Arts Committee under the Minister of Human Resources. Since 2020, he has been Chairman of the Board of the foundation operating the University of Theatre and Film in Budapest.

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