Friday, December 08, 2006

The Budapest Sun: Bridge between nations

Bridge between nations
By Andreea Anca

Romania raises its cultural profile here in Budapest Romania used the occasion of its national day to try to raise its cultural profile in Budapest and begin its final countdown to European Union accession on Jan 1. Last Wednesday (Nov 29) the renowned violinist Sherban Lupu joined a group of three peasant musicians to treat listeners to a repertoire of traditional Romanian folk tunes from all the regions of the country, played with consummate skill in the intimate but lavish surroundings of the Duna Palace.

Lupu, who trained at the Bucharest Conservatory before heading to London for lessons with Yehudi Menuin, is now the artistic director for the United State’s George Enescu Society, which honors the great Romanian composer and violinist of the last century. He also teaches at the University of Illinois, from which he received a prestigious award for recording the complete works for violin and piano by Bela Bartok.

Lupu brought masterly ability and an international reputation to the stage, forming a striking combination with virtuoso folk players from Maramures (northern Transylvania) Ioan Pop and Grigore Chira, and with Gheorghe Stan from southern Romania. Apart from singing and playing the guitar and violin, Pop introduced the audience to the more unusual instruments of trumpet-violin and a homemade “flute without holes.”

AMBASSADOR

Swapping easily between instruments, the trio, dressed in traditional Romanian folk costume, brought charm and spontaneity to proceedings, and provided superb support for Lupu’s soaring violin on drums, bass, cimbalom and vocals.

In an introductory speech, Romania’s Ambassador to Hungary, Ireny Comaroschi, emphasized the value of arts and culture as a means of getting to know other nations, a theme she expanded upon at a larger event at the Palace of Arts last Friday night (Dec 1). There, Comaroschi welcomed fellow diplomats from dozens of countries to a celebration of Romania’s National Day, which centered upon an ambitious fusion of music and images that took the assembled dignitaries on a “virtual tour” of Romania.

Folk music again featured strongly, this time set against a sonic backdrop of breakbeats provided by two young Romanian DJs, while pictures of major Romanian sites, cities and cultural figures were projected onto moving fabrics and screens.

Before the show began, Comaroschi thanked current EU member states for their support of Romania’s bid for accession, and highlighted the “traditional and profound relationships between Hungary and Romania.” She also hailed the Hungarian minority in Romania – and Romanians living in Hungary – for forming an important “bridge” between the nations, though Hungarian towns and culture in Transylvania were conspicuous by their absence in the otherwise impressive sound-and-light show, entitled Define Romania.

The show was produced by former actor Dan Chisu, a well-known presence on the Romanian capital’s arts scene, with a reputation for producing large-scale cultural events such as the DaKINO International Film Festival in Bucharest.

http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId={1E9FDCA5567C4D099C326D778357636B}&From=News

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