Bátori Mária -- Intro


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Bátori Mária -- Introduction

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Music and Musical Genres on the Pre-Erkel Hungarian Stage

Ferenc Erkel (1810–1893) has been called the founder of the Hungarian national opera, however, one should remember that Erkel was given the opportunity to carry out such a historic turn within the institutional framework of the Hungarian National Theatre. This institution, along with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, was the primary manifestation of the national ideals and cultural goals of the Hungarian Reform Age. With the exception of Bánk bán and Hunyadi László which enjoyed wide popularity in several Hungarian theatres, Erkel’s operas were never or only occasionally performed outside the walls of the National Theatre and its successor, the Budapest Opera House. Thus his operas need to be interpreted and analysed in the light of the cultural disposition that reigned around the theatre and the intellectual trends and changes in taste that influenced its directorial policies.

At the 1837 opening of the National Theatre (called the Hungarian Theatre in Pest until 1840) professional theatre production in Hungary looked back upon a past of about fifty years. The early performances by German touring companies were followed by regular seasons in German from 1787 onwards at the Buda Burgtheater, transformed for theatrical purposes from the church of the Carmelite monastery suppressed by Joseph II. Various kinds of plays with music and singing were cultivated from the outset, and from 1789 operas in the strict sense of the word were performed with remarkable frequency, although usually not in their original form. As generally established on German stages, opere buffe, including those by Mozart which made up the bulk of the repertory, were performed in Singspiel form, i.e. the recitatives were substituted by prose dialogues. Performances in German also took place regularly in the rapidly growing city of Pest. The idea of building a theatre designated to this purpose soon awakened. The new building was to replace the Rondella (or round bastion), a part of the abandoned city walls that functioned as the provisional theatre of Pest since the late 18th century. The Municipal Theatre opened in 1812 with incidental music to Kotzebues König Stephan and Die Ruinen von Athen, composed by Beethoven. With its capacity to house 3,200 spectators, it was more suitable for opera performances than for drama. In this theatre, the audiences of Pest-Buda could luxuriate in the main trends of contemporary fashion in international opera production with only a short delay.

At its beginning in the 1790s acting in Hungarian did not have the resources that would have enabled it to compete with the international opera repertory of the German companies. The Hungarian company acting in Buda from 1793 onwards engaged ten musicians altogether and this number did not increase considerably later. The immediate models of its musical repertory are to be sought in the Viennese Volksstück, a popular play with musical insertions which influenced contemporary Hungarian literature. The first local play was performed in the very first season of the Hungarian troupe; it was Philipp Hafner’s “merry tragedy” Evakathel und Prinz Schnudi, adapted into Hungarian as Pikkó herceg és Jutka Perzsi, staged with genuine music numbers composed by Joseph Chudy.1 In 1812 the young Gábor Rótkrepf (later Mátray) wrote songs to István Balog’s historical play Csernyi György, the melodies being partly of his own invention, and partly well-known popular tunes. The performances achieved great success on a provisional stage in Pest.

In the 1820s the centre of theatre playing in Hungarian shifted to Kolozsvár in Transylvania (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania). The first Hungarian stone theatre was erected there in 1821. It housed a permanent Hungarian theatrical company and focused on international opera, played in Hungarian. French opéra comique was much cultivated in the beginning, then operas with higher demands on performance were launched with Weber’s Der Freischütz, performed in 1825, and a series of Rossini’s works, later on. It was in the Kolozsvár theatre that music accompanied an opera from the beginning to the end for the first time, following the 1830s introduction of the new manner of recitativo accompagnato instead of spoken dialogues.2 The construction of the theatre was stimulating for the output of genuine Hungarian musical pieces as well. Béla futása [Béla’s Flight], set to music for the Kolozsvár stage by József Ruzitska in 1822, has proved extremely popular and long-lived. It was based on the Hungarian adaptation of Kotzebue’s play that was supposed to be performed at the opening of the German Theatre of Pest, had the censor not intervened. There followed Kemény Simon composed by both Ruzitska and György Arnold separately (1826) and Mátyás királynak választása [The Election of King Matthias] with the music of József Heinisch and György Arnold (1829) to dramas of the Hungarian playwright Károly Kisfaludy.

Ferenc Erkel began his musical career in this Transylvanian metropolis. He did not hold a position at the theatre and had to content himself with giving piano recitals and conducting an amateur orchestra. by his own account he received the main incentive to become an advocate of the Hungarian national opera for his whole life after seeing Béla’s Flight in Kolozsvár. Unfortunately, his music composed in that town got lost. From 1835 on Erkel acted as a conductor of the Hungarian National Stage in the Buda Burgtheater, the forerunner of the National Theatre. The theatre’s company was formed from members of the disbanded Kolozsvár troupe. Between December 1835 and November 1837 he was associate conductor of the German Municipal Theatre in Pest. Since the theatre was living through one of its best operatic eras, Erkel had the opportunity to get thoroughly acquainted with the sujets and roles in contemporary Italian and French opera and to observe the methods of running a modern theatre efficiently.3

Like all German theatres in Hungary (and in Austria for that matter), the Municipal Theatre in Pest had a mixed repertory of various musical and prose genres and non-theatrical spectacles. Therefore, it is understandable that the Hungarian Theatre in Pest had also been designed as a multifunctional theatrical institution from the beginning. However, this multi-functionality was severely restricted by the deficiencies of the staff. For historical reasons the ensemble had practically no educated opera singers at the outset, and in the first months only four out of the twenty male members of the stage company assumed parts that were exclusively singing roles. Therefore, actors appearing mainly in plays had to double even in through-composed operas. As for the actresses, the proportion of actors to singers was eleven to four.4 Naturally, specialisation within the singing genres was lacking until the modernisation of the opera repertory made it impossible to apply the light singing technique of musical pieces.5

In the eyes of the leading liberals of the Reform Age the poor state of opera at the Hungarian Theatre was not a bit worse than what it deserved. They deemed the Hungarian Theatre as an institution of national education, which had to stimulate the writing of genuine plays in the mother tongue, therefore, they destined it to be a house of spoken drama primarily. Consequently, in the four months after the opening of the Hungarian Theatre, only thirteen operatic performances and six concerts were staged, as opposed to the eighty-nine dramas in prose. At the German Municipal Theatre this proportion was 56 to 31 in favour of drama. Apart from the Italian and French comic operas borrowed from the repertory of the former Hungarian National Stage in Buda, only two through-composed operas and two opéra comiques were staged in the first months of the existence of the Hungarian Theatre.

The opening performance given on 22 August, 1837 unveiled the prevailing ideas concerning music. Only a chorus was inserted into the allegoric prologue (Árpád ébredése [Árpád’s Awakening]) written for the festive occasion by Mihály Vörösmarty, one of the greatest Hungarian poets and playwrights, then Schenk’s piece Belizár was performed with an overture composed by local conductor József Heinisch for this occasion. Between these two principal items of the programme Hungarian dances were inserted.6 As far as the music is concerned, the programme was typical of the pre-Erkel Hungarian stage; there was almost no theatrical performance without more or less music of some kind, but it was the very ubiquity of the music that confined it to a clearly supplementary and decorative role. Moreover, music was not recognised as a medium of dramatic expression. The inclusion of verbunkos dances in the programme indicated the demand for the representation of the Hungarian national element as a symbol of national emotions on stage.

A comparison of box office receipts from performances of pieces of various genres made the theatrical management realise in the very first months, that the institution could not survive if they did not give musical genres more attention, since opera and various musical forms collectively termed as parody attracted twice as large audiences as plays did.7 As a result, a fast decision was made to organise a semi-independent opera division. This decision, as a result of which opera gained a substantial foothold in the repertory and achieved increasing popularity, was of course not to the liking of the actors and of the literate public opinion. Opera got into the centre of violent polemics both inside and outside the theatre, a clash of interests and principles later termed as the “opera war”. Although some literate groups could hardly find aesthetic justification for the genre, the expansion of opera could not be halted. By engaging Ferenc Erkel and prima donna Rozália Schodel (1811–1854), who had given some occasional guest performances earlier, in January 1838, opera reached a higher state of quality in the Hungarian Theatre. Under Erkel’s direction educated opera singers were engaged and the orchestra was enlarged and reorganised. Thus in due course an efficient opera company was established. The new conductor acquired full authority over the matters the orchestra. He invited five musicians from Vienna, among them Georg Kaiser (who later took the Hungarian name György Császár), took the post of the concert master, and soon became the assistant conductor of the theatre. He was also an excellent composer. The size of the orchestra rose thereby to 348 and at the same time the chorus was increased to a number of 32. In the 1838–39 season Erkel made eight opera premičres, among them as a serious feat of arms, a genuine Hungarian piece.9

Given the predominance of comic opera in the operatic repertory of the first period at the Hungarian Theatre, Rossini’s The Barber of Sevilla having been the first opera performed there at all, it is no wonder that the premičre of the first genuine Hungarian musical play in April, 1839 was also a comic opera. Csel [The Intrigue]) composed by Endre Bartay to István Jakab’s original libretto bears traces of Rossini’s and Donizetti’s influence and also makes use of the verbunkos.10 Although Bartay attempted to introduce the recitative he retained prose dialogues, too, which made the piece somewhat out of date even at the time of the first performance. Thus Csel cannot be designated as the first Hungarian opera in the sense the word conveyed around 1840. A full-fledged Hungarian opera could no longer grow out directly from the old-type comic sujets or the Singspiel-like genres mixing singing with spoken dialogue. This fact was clearly exemplified by Erkel’s first opera Bátori Mária which was premičred on 8, August 1840. With this premičre the Hungarian national opera of full artistic validity was born from a determined and sensitive adaptation of the fashionable typology of plotting and characterisation of a certain type of contemporary international music drama. Erkel had premičred Italian melodramas like Beatrice di Tenda and Lucrezia Borgia on the National Stage, that clearly mark the point where he had taken up the cultivation of the genre, shortly before. Similarly to his models, the heroine in his first opera is also put through a tragic ordeal, dies innocently and becomes an emblem of moral integrity. The appropriation of international models by Erkel did not contradict any of the current interpretations of the concept of “national art” coined at the time by some influential circles of national liberal thinkers. 

Bátori Mária: the Antecedents of the text and the
Historical Background of the plot

The choice of the librettist Benjámin Egressy (1814–1851) fell on the subject of Bátori Mária, taken from a stage play in prose by András Dugonics (1793; first performed in 1794, published in 1795). The play had been popular on the Hungarian stage for nearly half a century.11 The Hungarian Theatre in Pest put it on bill in March 1838, soon after Erkel had joined the company.12

The plot of Bátori Mária is based upon the tragic story of Ines de Castro, a theme that had been wandering all over Europe for centuries. It was first adapted by Camoës in Os Lusiadas (1572)13 and later it reappeared in dramatic form on the stages of several nations. One of them, Weidmann’s five act tragedy Pedro und Ines is listed in the library inventories of some of the theatre directors active in Pest during the first half of the 19th century.14 A variant of the subject, the ballad of Agnes Bernauer reached the operatic stage as well (abbé G. J. Vogler’s lost opera: Albert der Dritte von Bayern, 1781; Karl Krebs: Agnes Bernauer, 1833).15 An elaboration of the tragic fate of Ines served as a sujet for the opera Ines und Pedro oder Der Geist bei Montegalva by Johann Spech, the first conductor of the German Municipal Theatre in Pest. It was composed on a libretto after Sándor Kisfaludy’s poem Tátika [Antirrhinum] and premičred in 1814. Ten years later the same theatre staged it again.16 Interest in the literary sources of the drama may have arisen in theatrical circles after the revival of Dugonics’s play in 1838. A sign of this interest can be seen in the fact that the fashion magazine Regélo published by Gábor Mátray who was deeply involved with the theatre at the time, printed the story of Ines and Pedro in January 1839, one year before Erkel’s opera was staged.17

This literary publication must have had the same source Dugonics had drawn upon; the tragedy Ignez de Castro by Julius Friedrich von Soden first performed in 1784.18 The fundamental elements of the plot are identical in all of the cases: the heir to the crown has a mistress of noble birth but not of royal blood who bears him two illegitimate children. Convinced that this state of affairs endangered the throne, members of the court plot against the innocent lady and take her life. Von Soden’s drama was not completely unfamiliar to Hungarian audiences; it was played in German in different locations in Pest and Buda on eight occasions between 1790 and 1830.19 Moreover, it was staged in Hungarian in Kolozsvár, coinciding with the 1794 performance of Dugonics’s drama in Pest.20

Dugonics followed Soden’s drama very closely, thus his work is a transition between translation and adaptation. The remark Dugonics made in the preface to the printed edition of his Bátori Mária is fairly euphemistic: “I adapted it for the Hungarian theatre (copying some de Kasztro work lock, stock, and barrel) to make the impression of a genuine work”.21 In reality, the arrangement of the acts is almost identical in both plays, the characters correspond to each other in all respects, and, for the most part, the Hungarian drama follows its model word by word. Only the narrative sections between the scenes which report off-stage action and describe the motivation of the characters can be more or less regarded as Dugonics’s personal contributions. The Hungarian playwright’s own addition is the mystery surrounding the heroine’s character; his Bátori Mária turns out to be a member of the royal family (unfortunately as belatedly as Gennaros turns out to be the son of Lucrezia Borgia in Donizetti’s opera), whereby the love-tragedy is aggravated into a tragedy of the family. It was through intrigue that her descent was kept secret before the royal family and herself. Dugonics’s other major addition is that the murderers get caught at the end. This development reveals that the king has regretted his ambiguous behaviour leading to the murder, and by clearing up the situation it allows the son to forgive his father and leads to the complete resolution of the father-son conflict, the starting point of the drama. Carrying out the revenge devolves on Prince István but the curtain drops before he does it. It is remarkable that Egressy’s libretto omits both changes and returns to Soden’s solutions. By doing so, the text renders a surprisingly modern open ending to the opera.

From a dramaturgical point of view Egressy’s adaptation of Dugonics’s play was restricted to curtailing the list of the dramatis personae, compressing the original five acts into two and producing the appropriate texts for the inevitable closed numbers of the opera. The fourth scene in the first act of the opera, Mária’s appearance, coincides with the beginning of the second section of the original drama while the second act of the opera comprises the last three sections of the drama. Two minor characters, who would curb the unfolding of the conflict between father and son (Queen Buzilla, István’s mother and Szemerédi, the King’s right hand man), disappear from the libretto; moreover, the number of villains is reduced from three to two. Mária’s plan to take the veil, a motive present in Dugonics as well as in Soden, is missing in Egressy; it would not fit into the even flowing of the operatic plot. Similarly, the perjury of the successor to the throne, István, who concealed his marriage with Mária from his father is not retained by Egressy. The figure of the King who struggles to maintain a balance between personal and public interest and undergoes a fundamental transformation changing from an archaic despot to a noble, enlightened and forgiving ruler became slightly obsolete by the time it got to the opera stage more than fifty years after it was put in the limelight in the play. In Dugonics’s drama both Árvai and Szepelik harbour personal grievances towards the Bátori family, which reinforces their traditional role as villains. Traces of these private motivations can be found in the opera; we learn about Szepelik’s earlier futile attempt to marry Mária and about Árvai’s being humiliated by Mária’s brother Miklós in asides in No. 10 (Szepelik: “Proud as you are, Mária, you turned me down. / Now prepare for the wedding: death is your groom.”) and in the second finale (Mária [to the King, pointing at Szepelik]: “This one is miserably lovesick,” / [pointing at Árvai] “while the other one is fired by having fallen from grace.”) As far as the stock types of scenes in contemporary opera are concerned, Egressy adeptly recognised the melodramatic potential of several episodes in the original play. Thus, the prayer, the hunt scene and István’s forest vision of the murder had been depicted in Dugonics’s and Soden’s dramas whereas the drinking and hunting songs and the idea that István arrives to see the murdered Mária with his own eyes instead of being told about the fatality by a messenger originate with Egressy. The only rhymed section of the Hungarian drama is the lament over Mária’s body which had presumably been sung in the play since the first performances.22 The mad scene is the only cliché of contemporary opera which is apparently missing; in a different context however, Mária’s rejoicing aria of gratitude in No. 14 with its capricious melodic line, coloraturas and high pitches could very well convey the affect of madness, too.

Dugonics has rightly showed a certain self-assurance concerning his achievement in his “adaptation” of the Ines de Castro sujet “for the Hungarian theatre”, i.e. the success of his effort to harmonically implant a European theatrical topic into a Hungarian historical environment, or rather to insert real or legendary events of old Hungarian history into an itinerant subject. The view prevailing in the Erkel literature that the plot of Bátori Mária is pure fiction and most of the characters of the opera were freely invented is unfounded. Dugonics’s monstrous footnotes to his epico-dramatical creation use great scholarly apparatus to prove that all significant moments of the drama reflect authentic historical events and, in fact, apart from some minor details his data are corroborated by the findings of modern Hungarian historiography. It turned out that not only were King Kálmán (Koloman Beauclerc, 1096–1116) and his son István II (Stephen II, 1116–1131), a lesser known member of the House of Árpád, historical personalities but the political events delineated in the play were based on historical events and the minor characters were modelled after historical figures as well. Álmos and his son Béla, mentioned in the libretto as dissemblers waiting for an opportunity to raise the flag of the party against the king (“Álmos and Béla are on the outlook to dissent”, in No. 2), were real protagonists of the political struggles accompanying the reign of King Kálmán. The several-year-long struggle between Álmos and Kálmán for the throne was rooted in a peculiar order of succession to the throne. Since the previous king Ladislas I had no male heir, he had no other choice but to declare either Álmos or Kálmán, one of the two sons of his brother Géza, as the successor to the throne. His choice fell on Álmos.23 Nonetheless, due to circumstances still unexplained to these days Kálmán was crowned king of Hungary. Álmos even had to abdicate from the throne of Dalmatia and received dukedom over one third of Hungary in exchange.24 The ill-fated Dalmatia had first been annexed by Byzantium, then occupied in part by Kálmán in 1105; this historical event forms the starting point of the plot of the opera. However, there is but a fleeting remark in the opening chorus to reveal that the victorious troops of István were just returning from Dalmatia (“Gloomy clouds have lifted from our sky and drifted above Dalmatia now”) ; the rest of the libretto mentions the enemy only in general.25 Strangely enough, only the libretto bears traces of the allegation found in the Hungarian chronicle according to which “king Stephen did not want to marry lawfully but took up with concubines.26 The barons and leaders – feeling sorry for the abandonment of the country and the king’s absence of issue – brought him the daughter of Robert Guiscard of Apulia [properly: Robert of Capua] as a wife.”27

Reports about this noble Italian lady of Norman descent formed the historical prototype of Mária Bátori’s figure. According to Dugonics’s sources, she was an offspring of the Sicilian Buzilla28 dynasty, the family of KingKálmán’s wife. Her father, the uncle of the Hungarian queen had secretly sent her to Hungary to be brought up in the Transylvanian family of the Bátoris (who had had a long past behind and a glorious future before them) and in due course to accede to the throne as the wife of István. There is a reference to the secret upbringing of Mária in the first finale of the opera (“The triumphant groom takes his bride by the arm / – he cherished her in a deep solitude.”). The scheme was upset by Mária’s foster-father Sándor Bátori who, pretending that Mária was his own daughter, appropriated her dowry. In Dugonics’s play the plan and the real descent of Mária “Bátori” are shed light upon by a letter from Sicily which arrives too late; because the three murderous villains are already on the way to Leányvár. In any case it is thus beyond doubt that the main character of Erkel’s opera can be traced back to a real historical figure, even if it appears in the context of an inauthentic plot. The plot deviates from the recorded historical facts in a number of respects. According to the sources, the Sicilian lady did in fact ascend to the Hungarian throne and István is not known to have had children whereas Erkel’s István and Mária have two illegitimate children. In the opera, István’s first and lawful wife dies before the plot begins to unfold. The deceased Judit is the third historical person besides Álmos and Béla, whose name found its way to the libretto with the aim to help create a historical background. In reality she was a Polish princess whose purported marriage with István has not been substantiated by historical scholarship, despite close Polish–Hungarian ties in those days.


Critical Acclaim and the Concept of National Music

The German press of Pest had a positive attitude towards the premičre of Erkel’s first opera (see facsimile 13) and reviewed it in more detail than Hungarian critics did. This dissimilarity was not only due to the opera war whose fronts divided Hungarian critics, but also to differences in education. The average German critic could draw upon a long tradition of musical criticism in German and generally had a thorough musical education whereas Hungarian critics were literary gentlemen in most cases and did not possess any musical learning. Therefore, they were unable to treat musical problems in a professional manner. This explains why the majority of the Hungarian critics expressed themselves rather laconically compared to their German colleagues and approached music from a theoretical point of view.

Nevertheless, on the whole the contemporary press unambiguously transmitted the picture of the resounding success of Bátori Mária. It is worth examining the possible components of this success. One of the factors to be considered is the Hungarian elements in Erkel’s score which were easily recognisable to both the audience and the critics. Instrumental verbunkos elements could by then look back on a presence of several decades on the Hungarian stage, they had formed a part of the professional theatrical performances from their very birth in the late 18th century. Various types of Hungarian musical pieces had already proved the viability of making vocal adaptations of the verbunkos and also that the Hungarian style conformed to the structures of European art music to a limited extent. Finally, Hungarian audiences had got acquainted with contemporary opera in the German theatre by that time, and had also experienced the ecstasy of the first encounter with Italian, French and German operas that were at last performed in their native language in the National Theatre. The public hailed the breakthrough in Hungarian opera achieved by Erkel who combined three essential elements in Bátori Mária in a way that had theretofore been unprecedented on the Hungarian stage. He used the vernacular, he composed music of unquestionable genuineness, and blended the national text and national music to form a through-composed opera.29 The criticism of the great literary personality Ferenc Toldy (formerly named Schedel) thus proved adequate both in the context of national culture in general and that of the history of Hungarian opera in particular when he asserted: “At any rate, not only is this our first genuine serious opera but also one that is worthy of being the starting point in the history of the genre in Hungary”.30 The German critic of Pesther Tageblatt formulated a similar opinion in a remarkably professional analysis published after the premičre: “this opera has raised Hungarian music to equal status with that of the other branches of art”.31

Several Hungarian and German critics hailed Bátori Mária as the embodiment of the concept of Hungarian national opera.32 However, it also had its opponents who formulated a different opinion about the concept of national opera created by Erkel in his first experiment. The difference in judgement resulted from the conflicting postulations the parties set as the concept of national art. A moderately liberal literary circle around the periodical Athenaeum, including Bajza, Vörösmarty and Toldy, formed the “brain trust” of the National Theatre and expressed classicist aesthetic views. Thus, they focused on the classical qualities of Erkel’s work in their criticism and tended to depreciate the prominent presence of Hungarian elements. In 1842, Athenaeum declared in an essay comparing the newest local opera Gizul by Károly Thern and Bátori Mária that; “...both works are a remarkable reflection of the endeavour to give their schooling [i.e. musical technique] a Hungarian character, to adorn it as if it were in Hungarian garment. Bátori Mária is a product of the German (classical) school and, except for its national character, the author subordinated all aspects of composition to the requirements of classicism... [Erkel] created his work in a manner that enables it to withstand the changes of time and taste...”33 Obviously, if Hungarian opera intends to position itself on classical European foundations for the sake of universality, the Hungarian element must remain a mere garment. It is evident that Gábor Mátray (music director of the theatre in the first months of its existence) found the proportion of national elements in Bátori Mária too high for the same reason; “The composer has deftly woven in Hungarian melodies. They could well have been omitted in some places or at least less frequently repeated.” Classicism is again at stake; Mátray classified Bátori Mária disapprovingly as “contemporary romantic opera”. He condemned some numbers in which “the style inclines towards German romanticism” and contrasted them with other items of the opera like the King’s aria in the second act (“Who says that kings are a happy breed?”, in No. 10) or the ensemble concluding the same scene which he believed to be Italian and declared as strikingly successful as opposed to the Hunters’ song (No. 12), for example, which evidently represented the German tradition for Mátray, and proved to be ineffective34.

Hidden behind the postulation of classicism in all cases there lied the optimistic conviction of the Hungarian Reform Age that European art music forms could be reconciled with the Hungarian popular tradition. Differences in opinion originated in the critics’ judgement on whether or not the postulation is fulfilled by the opera. By contrast, the radical literary circle that broke with the ideals of Athenaeum and became known by the name Young Hungary, defined the national character by the individuality of its genesis rather than from the aspect of the universality of its treatment. They acclaimed the integrity of national art rather than its integration into a classical concept of art; although Hungarian music should seek to be attached to the trunk of the universal art of music, it should also remain an “independent, separate and original branch of the art”, retaining its distinctive features. The concern for the ethnic character of national music is characteristically interwoven with the defence of the dramatic individualisation on stage. When the insignificant playwright Imre Vahot demanded that historical figures should not be represented on the operatic stage, he came very close to the standpoint of Gábor Egressy, one of the greatest actors living at the time who claimed that music was incapable of describing human character.35 Moreover, when Vahot called Erkel’s attention to “the nature, customs and morals of the Hungarian race, and the music of the csárdás” in connection with Bátori Mária and warned him that “it is by no means sufficient to add some fragments from the spirit of our folk songs to a totality that is constructed along differing principles,” he was by no means voicing an isolated point of view but that of radical nationalism in music. In the 1840s similar views could be heard but sporadically. However, after the defeat of Hungary in the War of Independence of 1849 they became prevalent. Some declared then that Hungarian music would become “the fourth musical idiom” besides the German the Italian and the French.36

What both detailed critiques of the premičre do, the unknown German reviewer in Pesther Tageblatt and Gábor Mátray in Honmuvész, apart from discussing matters of principle, is to analyse the individual numbers of the opera.37 Between this two extremes critics do not seem to recognise the fact that the Hungarian character has a precise dramaturgical function in the opera as a musical means to reflect the moral conflict in the piece. The national musical style takes sides with Mária and István and musically represents purity and humanity as opposed to royal power and courtly intrigue. Individual analyses deserve special attention since not only do they word the critic’s own view but also report the reactions of the audience. Occasionally they also inform the reader about the circumstances of a given performance. It has already been mentioned how Mátray reported the acclaim the Italianate numbers had received. He also observed the predominance of the choruses and their high musical standard; other critics shared his view almost unanimously after the first night and the later performances of Bátori Mária38. The Pesther Tageblatt called Quartetto con coro (No. 3) (see facsimile 1) one of the most successful numbers of the opera, and strangely enough, also gave account of the ovation with which the audience greeted it; an ovation which was justified neither by the situation on the stage nor by the affect that was conveyed by the music. Apart from the quartet, Mátray also praised Mária’s Romanza (No. 4 – the following Cabaletta was missing at the premičre) and her Aria in the second act (No. 8). Whereas the Duetto in the first act (No. 6) was unanimously criticised. It was said to be reminiscent of Mozart rather than contemporary opera in instrumentation and musical idiom, it was deemed too long and a shortening was suggested (similarly to the opening chorus of the second act and the King’s scene in No. 10). Although the hunting chorus (No. 11) seemed affected to Mátray, his German counterpart merely spoke of the deficiencies of the performance. The unanimous praise of the first finale was disturbed by one voice of criticism; the German reviewer criticised the wedding chorus for its ineffectiveness and weakness in composition. Citing counter-examples by Halévy and Auber, he ascribed the failure to the lack of clear distinction between church style and theatrical style on Erkel’s part. It is remarkable that the same review distinguished the closing section of the first finale (which he called Friss Magyar) from gypsy music, the memory of which was evoked by the mistaken manner in which the violinists of the orchestra had performed the music. It is an essential and telling moment that both critics judged the second finale of the opera as lengthy and ineffective. As we shall see later, Erkel found a remedy for all these problems.


Einlagen, Singers, Revivals

The critic of Pesther Tageblatt stated that after Mária’s Romanza (No. 4) in the first act the banda (i.e. the stage band of wind instruments) played a march preceding the Duetto (No. 6) directly; “The arrival of the prince was announced by a march which, performed by the banda alone, did not produce the effect that a full orchestral participance would have achieved. – A banda in itself does not make a good impression in a confined space, and as all wind music it is more effective in open air. The subsequent duet is simple and impressive.”39 If this piece of information is genuine one must accept that Coro (No. 5) in its present, known and final form employing chorus, full orchestra and the banda was not presented at the premičre (and probably at later performances either). Instead, the banda played a march which must have been an early variant of the Coro instrumented for the banda. The critic’s description is supported by the evidence of the autograph score (AU) and reinforced by the promptbook which was probably used at the premičre (SK1); both confirm that Erkel had in fact planned to include a chorus at this place. Although the words were published in the libretto printed for the premičre (L1), he did not finish the instrumentation in time. An entry in pencil can be read at the top of the relevant page in the above mentioned promptbook: “Kórus. Banda” [Choir. Banda]. However, the place for the text of the chorus remained blank. In the autograph manuscript Erkel completed the Maestoso passage after the Romanza (see critical notes), he also notated the beginning of Coro (No. 5) in D major with an indication as to the scoring for full orchestra. Nevertheless, the number itself remained incomplete; Erkel wrote the chorus parts to the end in D major, but broke off the two staves of the guida for the banda after fourteen bars, and left the lines of the orchestral parts blank. He later filled out the orchestral parts in C major, the predominant key of the section, and added the choral parts for the C major version at a blank space in the score (see facsimile 3).

The drastic change of key has to do with the fact that Erkel inserted a Cabaletta for Mária between the Romanza and the Maestoso. The new number survives in the autograph manuscript on unnumbered pages added later. The copyist of SK1 inserted the text for the new item into the space left blank for the text of the chorus. The insertion of the Cabaletta made the shortening and the transposition of the Maestoso necessary, and the original key of the Coro, D major, also had to be altered. The full orchestration of the chorus was carried out with regard to the already existing Cabaletta.40

The earliest datable Einlage proper, István’s aria accompanied by the men’s choir, was added to the first act (No. 1 Aria con Coro). Erkel wrote it for Zsigmond Joób who took on the role and first sang it on 29 January, 1841. Mátray’s only remark about the new piece in Honmuvész was that it was “less effective than difficult”.41 The extremely high tessitura of the tenor part of Bátori Mária (and for that matter, of Erkel’s later operas as well) was criticised constantly throughout the stage history of the piece. It probably resulted from the Italian and French singing technique called falsettone, that had already begun to decline on the international stage in the 1830s.

From Mátray’s review we also learn that Mária’s role was originally intended for Mme. Schodel, the primadonna assoluta of the 1840s in the National Theatre: “as a matter of fact, today’s extremely difficult role was written by the composer for Mme. Schodel and measured to her talent...”. Mátray’s information is supported by another review according to which the “young and charming Mária Felber had learnt the title role of Bátori Mária within an extremely short period of time” for the premičre.42 One can safely assume that the resignation of Mme. Schodel was the result of the opera war; offended by the continuous attacks against her, she left Pest in the summer of 1840 for an extended tour in Austria. After Mária Felber had left in 1841,43 the theatre tried to fill the title role with the beginner Paulina Lang and the internationally known Henriette Carl, former prima donna of the German Theatre.44 In September 1843 Endre Bartay, the new director of the National Theatre, announced that a long-term agreement could be reached with Mme. Schodel.45 Consequently, Mme. Schodel appeared three times on the stage of the National Theatre as Mária (on 15 and 20 December, 1843 and 11 February, 1845) and she also performed in May 1844 in Pozsony (now Bratislava, Slovakia). Although none of the Einlagen are associated with her person directly in contemporary sources, one cannot rule out the fact that the Cabaletta after the Romanza was written for the festive occasion of her appearance.

After Mme. Schodel, Mária’s role was sung almost exclusively by Kornélia Hollósy (1827–1890), the other leading Hungarian prima donna of the time. Newspaper reports were enthusiastic about her coloratura all the time. The only mark her appearances in the title role left on the work was the cadenza for the Cabaletta (No. 4) with the accompaniment of a flute. With the exception of the vocal part that has been lost, the cadenza could be reconstructed from the contemporary performing material of the orchestra (see facsimile 9 and the critical notes).46

The only interruption in Hollósy’s success series came with four guest performances by Luise Liebhart in 1852 (the one on 5 July was attended by the Emperor Franz Joseph). Both the play-bill made for Liebhart’s guest performances and the press reports attest that Erkel composed a new aria in the second act for the guest singer from Vienna.47 No traces of the piece could be found so far; in any case, the assumption in the literature that it must be identical with one of the known arias cannot be substantiated. For such hypothesis, two numbers in the second act could be taken into consideration; the Cabaletta in G major (No. 8), and the aria in the second Finale (No. 14) in which Mária joyfully expresses her gratitude over her supposed escape. The latter is very unlikely to have been an insertion because it forms part of the first layer of the autograph manuscript and fits into it without interruption. By contrast, Cabaletta (No. 8) seems to be a later insertion; the autograph manuscript confirms that the Recitativo, terzetto e coro (No. 9) was to follow the G minor aria (No. 8) directly. However, Erkel must have decided to insert the Cabaletta at a very early stage because its text was included in the promptbook (SK1) dating from before 1841 and having probably been in use since the premičre. Nevertheless, in this textual source, heretofore unknown in Erkel research, one finds a loose leaf stitched in after No. 8 which contains the words of a single stanza, sufficient to serve as the text for a coloratura aria.48 The way such Einlagen were usually treated explains how the music of the aria (called “Hungarian song” in a review) may have got lost. In the case of a new Duetto (see Appendix II) and two dances (see Appendix IV, V), to be discussed in greater detail later, the parts for the additional numbers were copied and kept separately from the bulk of the performing material. This way they could easily be detached from the corpus of the work and set out on their own path of transmission, leading to unknown places. As for the lost aria, it is possible that this was the very piece that some articles in Koszorú and Magyar Sajtó report on. According to the articles the famous singer Anna Carina, who later moved to Pest, sang an excerpt from Bátori Mária in Vienna on 28 February, 1864, a “grand aria” with orchestral accompaniment in Pest at a “Recitation, Song and Music Academy” organised by the National Theatre on 23 December the same year, and also an “aria with orchestra on 26 March, 1865 in Pest.49 In view of the comparatively short time that elapsed between the performances it can be supposed that she sang the same piece. If she had sung an aria with orchestral accompaniment in Vienna as well, she obviously needed the instrumental parts which must have been easy to transport and therefore could not belong with the corpus of the whole opera. As regards the transportability of the parts, two of Mária’s arias come into question; both the Romanza (No. 4) and the Aria at the beginning of the second act (No. 8) survived in contemporary parts separately from the work, transposed lower. As for the performability of the Romanza, one should bear in mind that it also employed a choir. On the other hand, the performing material for the G minor/G major Aria has been handed down with extremely deficient parts on loose, separate leaves, a deficiency that must have made its use at a concert difficult. If the dishevelled state of the material does not point exactly to its being lent to Vienna, it might be assumed that the press recorded concert performances of the lost aria. There were no traces of the insertion of a new number in the 1858 promptbook (SK2) or in the libretto (L2) printed the same year, which suggests that after Louise Liebhart’s departure Erkel did not consider the aria an organic part of the opera.

That year the National Theatre was preparing to revive Bátori Mária. This choice is rather surprising because Erkel’s second opera Hunyadi László had been performed continuously since 1844 and at the time of the revival he was busy working on Bánk bán, which would be premičred in 1861, some months after the last performance of Bátori Mária, and would prove to be the second opera destined to unbroken success in his oeuvre apart from Hunyadi László. Nevertheless, both the composer and the theatre made preparations for the revival with unmitigated ambition. The play-bill and the press mutually stressed the fact that a new production with “new cast, new items of music and songs, new scenery and new dances” would be presented.50 Having a new promptbook copied and a new libretto printed obviously suggests that this time the composer did not content himself with incidental changes but intended to modify the canonised form of the work. The play-bill does not help to clarify what these purported modifications implied. Although the press occasionally made a hint at the novelties in the score,51 the critics were unable to identify their exact nature in a piece that had rarely been performed in the previous decades, and not at all in the preceding six years. Yet, most critiques mention the “nicely conceived duet” by Mária and István as “one of the highlights of the opera”, which was “one of the most difficult pieces to sing” at the same time.52 This characterisation does not correspond to the original Duetto (No. 6) in A major in the first act that was subject to criticism as early as the time of the premičre. Erkel himself must have been dissatisfied with the Duetto which is proven by the fact that all musical and textual sources witness severe cuts: the composer started to cut the duet very early and the cuts affected increasingly long sections. (In one version only the first forty-one bars of the whole duet seem to have been retained.53)

Finally, Erkel found a radical solution, he put the duet aside altogether. Erkel research had not been completely unaware of this situation since the text for a new duet prepared for the 1858 revival was available in both sources (SK2, L2). Since no new duet could be found in the autograph score, its music was declared lost.54 However, during the work on the present edition a completely unknown Duetto (Appendix II) was discovered inserted on separate pages into the performing material of the opera from where it could be partially reconstructed. There is no doubt that it was the very duet that the critics were so enthusiastic about. In the first version of Bátori Mária the Hungarian elements were not able to support an autonomous musical construction of such complexity as Mária and István’s new duet. Experience in the compositional process of Hunyadi László and Bánk bán was needed to enable Erkel to perform the task. The stylistic similarity of the latter opera to the duet cannot be overlooked. (The reason the duet is published in Appendix II of the present edition is that Mária’s part has not been discovered; emendations are, however, suggested.)

As in the case of the duet, Erkel took the advice of his former critics when it came to transforming the second finale (No. 14). He must have cut the mourning duet of István and Miklós and the closing chorus at an early stage, affected obviously by the reviews claiming unanimously that the finale was long-winded. Then he added two pages of music that -- attached to the autograph score -- bear evidence of his recognition that the dramatic conciseness and the conceptual openness of the ending of the opera are lost if the vow of vengeance is set into the traditional framework of a closed number. Instead, in the new version, the men’s choir recites the magic words of the vow almost in prose above the passacaglia motive played menacingly by the brass. While this second version concentrates on the motive of revenge instead of bereavement, the third version of the finale exposes an additional lyrical motive. The vow of revenge is retained but before it is uttered, Erkel brings Mária back to life to allow her to take leave of her lover, the father of her children. With a melancholic citation of the Cabaletta from the first act (No. 4), she sorrowfully recalls the sounds of their foregone happy union. This version, which is Erkel’s last contribution to the Finale, was copied on small-sized note paper and attached carefully to all performing parts, although not to the score.

Apart from the duet, music for three additional, so far unknown, insertions emerged in the course of the work on the present edition: three Hungarian dances instrumented for full orchestra (see Appendix IV–VI). There is no explicit data about their composer.55 One of them was inserted before the Duetto (No. 6) in the performing material of the orchestra. In most orchestral parts there is a reference to the insertion of a dance at this place and the play-bills also call one’s attention to a newly introduced dance in the first act. (One should remember that the first Finale in the autograph manuscript contains a pair of dances inscribed “Hungarian allegoric dance”). The other dances survived separately from the performing material of the opera. These dances must have served as music for the various stage dances interpolated in the opera as indicated on the play-bills during the twenty years of its existence on stage.56 The play-bills of the very first performances put the name of the coach and director of the “dance and tableaux that would occur” on-stage on the list of participants. In 1846–1847 “a great Hungarian pas de deux” was announced on the play-bills of four performances. The demand for authentic national dances greatly increased after the mid-1840s which explains why the name of Samu Tóth, a Hungarian dance specialist, figures on play-bills from 1848 onwards so often. His appearance at the National Theatre coincides with the departure of János Kolosánszky, whose pseudo-Hungarian choreographies induced much aversion, and with the engagement of choreographer Frigyes Campilli. On 26 August, 1848 Samu Tóth and his partners danced a “Hungarian pas de trois” and his appearances in 1858–1860 included a “Hungarian dance” in addition to the invariably present “tableaux and dance ensembles”. It is obvious that at the 1858 revival, the new dances and the new duet were intended to establish the predominance of the Hungarian element over the Italian, French and German influence. In short, they were meant to transform the last performances of the work into a Hungarian opera, in a different sense than that of the 1840 version.

Rather surprisingly, the play-bills indicate that at the last series from 9 March, 1858 onwards Bátori Mária was performed in three acts. This may have resulted primarily from the increased proportion of dances in the performance. Sporadic notes in the orchestral parts indicate that the second act of the three act version began with No. 6 or No. 7 and the third with Mária’s G minor/G major Aria e Cabaletta (No. 8). The chorus opening the original second act was excluded from all sources to meet the requirements worded in one of the critiques of the premičre. It is possible that the entry found in one of the dance insertions, which directs the player to follow the dance with the B major dance (Lassú tánc [Slow Dance]) of the first finale, is related to the 1858 revival of the opera. (The other dance insertions do not contain any notes that would indicate where they should be placed.) Since the entry at the end of the Duetto (“end of Act One”) is likely to be related to the three act adaptation, the newly created second act seems to have been formed by the extension of the first finale into a dance tableau. The divertissement could not be incorporated into the second act for dramaturgical reasons, therefore, the creators of the 1858 adaptation found an appropriate place for it in the original first finale. One is probably not mistaken to suppose that in addition to the increasing importance of the Hungarian element in both singing and dance, the last revival of Bátori Mária also sought a way to renew the interest of the modern audience in the slightly antiquated work by increasing the proportion of elements of high decorativeness.

Contrary to Erkel’s two consecutive operas which have been present on the Hungarian opera stage uninterruptedly since their premičres, the performing of Bátori Mária was restricted to the period between 1840 and 1860. During these twenty years the piece was performed thirty-five times on the stage of the National Theatre (on three occasions only partially)57. In May 1844 the company staged the opera at the Diet of Pozsony along with Hunyadi and a népszínmu (Volksstück) entitled Két pisztoly [Two Pistols] by Erkel and Szigligeti. On 25 April, 1846 excerpts of the opera were performed in Kolozsvár, as well.58 On concert performances the overture was often coupled with the “Introduction” which consisted of the first three numbers of the opera.59

Bátori Mária was withdrawn from the programme of the National Theatre in 1860 once and for all and was not revived in its successor, the Budapest Opera House. However, the overture was detached from the corpus of the opera and started to live a life of its own. Following its first production on 9 November, 184160 it became very popular as an independent concert piece. From the entries on its performing material and from the play-bills and Pocketbooks of the National Theatre a continuous history of performance covering almost one hundred years unfolds.61 Further data make it probable that the overture was performed in Brussels at the end of the 19th century62. Interestingly, the overture was often performed as the beginning of plays after the defeat of Hungary in the War of Independence to keep national consciousness alive. The overture thus gained a political context. On 1 January, 1856 it introduced the performance of Károly Kisfaludy’s play entitled Kemény Simon; the fact that the people attending the performance sang Erkel’s Himnusz [National Anthem] at the end of the performance makes it evident that it was less of a festive occasion than that of a kind of national festival.63 Another similar occasion (1859) was related to the commemoration of Mihály Vörösmarty’s death; the annual revival of the play Áldozat [Sacrifice] lent the feast a cult-like character.64



The overture went separate ways from the rest of the opera both with regard to its dissemination in performance and to the transmission of its written sources towards posterity. Since it was composed a year later than the opera itself, the overture is missing from the autograph score of the opera. The complete set of orchestral parts survived in the music collection of the National Theatre. There it was not united with the performing material of the opera but kept separately so as to remain mobile; this material was on-lend relatively frequently for performances of the overture in the Hungarian capital and in country towns.

In spite of its former continuous use the performing material in NSZ remained unknown for the Erkel research so far, and a contemporary manuscript copy (RP) held in the National Széchényi Library was considered the only source of the overture. It came to Budapest in 1954 from the estate of György Ruzitska (1789–1869), a conductor and composer at the theatre of Kolozsvár. Erkel’s lines of dedication to Ruzitska and the date 1845 can be found on the title-page of the manuscript copy (see facsimile 10) and his additions can be sporadically recognised in the musical text as well. The performing material held at the Music Academy of Kolozsvár was most probably copied from this score.

The whereabouts of the autograph score of the overture are unknown at present, but the version that it represented can nevertheless be reconstructed from other sources. Ervin Major’s catalogue of Erkel’s compositions (see note 10) mentions a further copy of the score in the former music collection of the National Conservatory in Budapest (ZNY); this source has also remained unresearched so far. Its most characteristic trait is its strikingly rich articulation that distinctly reflects a later taste and can hardly have originated with Erkel. The main difference of this source from RP lies in the twenty-five bars by which this score is longer; moreover, it shows a cut which does not precisely coincide with that in the Kolozsvár version. There are further significant differences between the two scores.65 It is decisive for the stemma of the sources of the overture that NSZ comprises the longer version even if the passage concerned was later omitted from several part-books. Accordingly, NSZ and ZNY must stem from a common early version probably originating in the lost autograph score. From all this a special case of transmission can be surmised; it was the early version of the overture as contained in the autograph score that had spread over time and space, whereas the later version of RP authenticated by Erkel in his own hand apparently did not get beyond Kolozsvár.66

Before Erkel composed an overture to it, Bátori Mária had begun with a brief orchestral Introduction anticipating the music of the mourning duet- in the finale of the second act (see the Appendix I). When he decided to write an overture, he extended the original opening of the opera by eleven bars and included it in the new orchestral piece as a slow introduction. This procedure makes it obvious that he intended the overture to replace the orchestral introduction of the opera, and, indeed, the Introduction is omitted from most orchestral parts of NSZ, albeit inconsistently. Erkel did not delete it from the autograph score. Although the overture was found in several part-books intended for operatic performance, it cannot be claimed that through the composition of the overture the Introduction was revoked as an alternative beginning for future performances of the opera. There is no doubt, however, that irrespective of the present-day performer’s decision the alternatives represent two different dramatic ideas. With the Introduction quoting the finale the opera begins in medias res, whereas the transfer of this musical prophecy to the opening of the overture practically removes this musical symbol of recognition at the moment of the fulfilment of the tragedy from the dramatic action, and by casting it among several other motives of the overture quoted from the opera subordinates it to absolute musical form.



Hardly anything is known about the history of genesis of Bátori Mária. The only factual information at our disposal is the dates at the head of each of the two volumes of the autograph score; accordingly, Erkel started the first act on 30 March, 1840 and the second act in beginning of July. At any rate, the autograph reveals unambiguously that the dates mark the beginning of copying and not that of composing; in spite of several compositional emendations and a large number of deleted sections that would no longer enter the performing material, the manuscript preserves its character of a fair copy. It was due to haste that Erkel relied on a copyist to help write down certain repeated sections; some entries in pencil were added by another unknown hand (e.g. introducing alternative notes in the vocal parts). In two instances where the autograph is incomplete, Erkel refers to a certain “score copy” but this score did not survive. It may be presumed that this lost source was made as a fair copy of Erkel’s often illegible handwriting. From the minor but distinctive differences between AU and NSZ one may conclude that NSZ was prepared from this copied score rather than from the autograph. Erkel on the other hand seems to have conducted from the autograph for a while or perhaps throughout the decades during which the opera remained in the repertory.

The music to be played by the banda is included in AU in the form of a two-stave guida, which is not only incomplete but also differs from the surviving material of the banda. (Because of its fragmentary form, the guida is included in the critical notes and is replaced by a modernised version in the score.) AU is the only source of the German translation of the text of the opera, which has presumably been made for an unrealised Vienna and Berlin tour of the National Theatre in 1853.67 (The German translation is included in the Libretto part of this edition, whereas Erkel’s meticulous changes of prosody carried out carefully to adapt the vocal parts to the German text were excluded.)

A copy of the score comprising the first three numbers of the opera (ZO, see facsimile 11) constitute an interesting addition to the two main sources AU and NSZ. The pertaining orchestral parts also survived (ZSZ). Since this set of sources was preserved in the music collection of the National Conservatory in Pest (which had been founded by the Music Society of Buda and Pest, an important organiser of large-scale concerts at the time), it is very probable that the score and parts were copied for concert performances. This assumption may be substantiated by the fact that the part of the opera they contain is almost identical with the “Introduction” which was a favourite number in contemporary concert programmes (see note 59).

The contemporary instrumentation of the music for the banda in an opera rarely survives because the score for the on-stage military band is usually elaborated by local orchestrators. Bátori Mária is in a fortunate position since both the score (BP) and the parts (BSZ) of the banda have survived (see facsimile 4 and 5, the score of the banda is published in Appendix VII). There is no reliable information concerning the orchestrator but based on one’s familiarity with contemporary operatic practice one can safely presume that this person was not Erkel himself but some musical factotum at the theatre. The score and the parts were evidently written at different times since the scoring and the names of instruments do not exactly correspond. One can be sure that both of them were prepared later than the first performance of the opera. This emerges from the differences between this set of sources and the guida in AU on the one hand and the orchestral parts on the other (most parts of the banda double the orchestral parts throughout). Since the play-bills of Bátori Mária normally record the name of the military band hired for the night, we can be sure of the participation of a banda in most performances from the very beginning on. The name of the band is only missing from the playbills between 20 December, 1843 and 11 February, 1845 but even this does not necessarily mean that a banda was not employed. Therefore, it may be assumed that there had been one or more early orchestrations for the banda material which have been lost.

The principal group of sources of Bátori Mária are supplemented by some late manuscripts not used for the present edition, such as the transposed versions of Aria con Coro (in No. 1), Romanza (No. 4) and Aria (No. 8), which were handed down as part of NSZ. The entries in it testify that the late vocal part material of Quartetto con Coro (No. 3) was used at a concert organised to celebrate Erkel’s eightieth birthday. In fact, the parts were probably made for this occasion (see note 59). The former music collection of the National Conservatory houses the piano score of the opening chorus of the second act (No. 8) which shows a third vocal part entered later; the complete choral part material pertaining to it also survived. This new version was evidently made for a concert performance sung by the girls’ chorus of the Conservatory. One of the reasons of its being omitted from the present edition is its occasional and non-theatrical nature, the other reason is that regarding the third vocal part and the piano accompaniment the authorship of Erkel cannot be substantiated. At any rate, this variant proves that some sections of Erkel’s works not only lived longer on the concert stage than in the theatre but also that they must have been sung more frequently than we learn from the sources that have been explored so far.

Apart from the vocal sources the libretto of Bátori Mária survives in four purely textual sources; in two manuscripts used as promptbooks (SK1 and SK2) and two printed sources (L1 and L2). L1 and SK1 were made for the premičre whereas L2 and SK2 were prepared on the occasion of the last revival in 1858. SK1 is the only source without dating, however, several entries point to the fact that it was in use as a promptbook from a very early time to the 1858 revival. SK1 is especially valuable for it has heretofore been unknown in Erkel research and contains several text variants which are not included in other sources68. It is by nature closer to the performed version than the contemporaneous printed libretto. The libretto contains minor – mainly purely prosodic – changes to the text by Erkel and all the elements missing from L1 but included in AU, such as the Cabalettas in Mária’s arias No.4 and No.8 and the short entry of the men’s choir at the end of the first act. (See chapter Einlagen, Singers, Revivals on Coro No. 5 in the present study). SK2 contains the words of István’s insertion aria (Aria con Coro, in No. 1) which appear in SK1 merely as an insertion in pencil, and the new Duetto (Appendix II). L2, which originates from the same period, was evidently intended as a drama for reading rather than a text to follow the opera from, since it differs considerably from the performed version in several places. Strangely enough, several text variants emerge in L2 which had previously occurred only in SK1 (see facsimile 12). L1 contains the first version ending of the opera with the words of the final chorus. The text of the final chorus is missing from SK1, only the words of the preceding duet and recitativo are retained with some sections deleted, which reveals the stage practice before 1858. Moreover, Mária’s words of farewell were entered later and, as has been mentioned before, are available exclusively in the final version of the finale.

Miklós Dolinszky



List of Abbreviations in the Introduction

AU      Two volume autograph score of the opera. National Széchényi Library, Music Collection, Ms. Mus. 3.

NSZ    Vocal and orchestral parts of the opera and of the overture used in the former National Theatre. The source has not been processed. National Széchényi Library, Music Collection, no call number.

BP        Banda score, included in NSZ. National Széchényi Library, Music Collection, no call number.

BSZ     Complete banda parts, included in NSZ. National Széchényi Library, Music Collection., no call number.

ZO       No. 1–3, copy of the score, Collection of the National Conservatory of Music. Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Research Library for Music History, M 46.668.

ZSZ     No. 1–3, complete orchestral and vocal parts copied from ZO, Collection of the National Conservatory of Music. Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Research Library for Music History, M 37.542.

RP       Copy of the score of the overture, includes lines of dedication to György Ruzitska from 1845, dating and notes by Erkel. National Széchényi Library, Music Collection, Ms. Mus. 2644.

ZNY    Copy of the score of the overture, Collection of the National Conservatory of Music. Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Research Library for Music History, M 36.882.

L1        Printed libretto, first edition. Pest, József Beimel, 1840.

L2        Printed libretto. Pest, János Hercz, 1858.

SK1     Promptbook (manuscript). National Széchényi Library, Collection of Theatre History, MM 13 539.

SK2    Promptbook 1858 (manuscript). Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music Research Library for Music History, 26377.



The editors owe thanks to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Research Library for Music History, Budapest for placing the sources at our disposal. Grateful thanks are due to Edina Szvoren for proof-reading the opera in several stages; to Ágnes Gupcsó for her participation in the whole process of proof-reading both the score and texts, and for detecting contemporary press reports on performance history; to Péter Halász for collating the score and the notes; to Klára Várhidi-Renner for transcribing the hand-written contemporary German libretto found in the autograph; to Irisz Sipos (Mainz) for editing this same German libretto; to Judit Bánfalvi and Beáta Barna for correcting and editing the English translations; to Éva Gurmai and István Csaba Németh for drawing the editors’ attention to complementary sources; to Dezso Varga for his help in organising publishing; and, finally, to the staff of the Music and Theatre Collections of the Hungarian National Széchényi Library for establishing optimal research conditions. This edition could not have been realised without their contribution and conscientious work.



1 Hungarian theatre literature has observed the way the original genre of the play – a parody of the classicist French tragedy – was transformed into a mere musical play without parodistic connotations. Cf. Ferenc Kerényi, “Magyar színészet Pest-Budán (1790–1796)” [Hungarian Acting in Pest-Buda (1790–1796)], in Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873, p. 77.

2 K. Kreutzer’s opera Cordélia was the first opera given in 1830 “according to the Italians’ custom without spoken words”; at the 1836 premičre of Bellini’s I Capuleti ed i Montecchi in Kolozsvár a return to the prose dialogues can, however, be seen as evidenced by the play-bill. See Ferenc Kerényi–László Gerold, “A vándorszínészet második szintje: a klasszikus értelemben vett vándortársulatok és színjátéktípusaik” [The Second Layer of Touring Players: the Touring Companies in the Classical Sense of the Word and their Types of Plays], Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873, p. 206.

3 Amadé Németh, Az Erkelek a magyar zenében. Az Erkel család szerepe a magyar zenei muvelodésben [The Erkels in Hungarian Music. The Role of the Erkel Family in the General Hungarian Musical Culture]. (Békéscsaba: 1987) = Fekete könyvek, 9.

4 The proportions of actors to singers in the German Municipal Theatre were; 23:9 for men, 16:8 for women. See Ferenc Kerényi, “A Pesti Magyar Színháztól a Nemzeti Színházig (1837–1840)” [From the Hungarian Theatre of Pest to the National Theatre (1837–1840)], Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873, pp. 265, 267.

5 A typical example of multifariousness recalling the years of touring companies was the figure of Benjámin Egressy, the factotum of the Hungarian theatre and librettist of Erkel’s first three operas; he appeared as singer and prose actor alike, provided the theatre continuously with translations of stage works and composed as well; the excellent baritonist Mihály Füredy put plays on the stage, József Szerdahelyi sang, staged plays and composed, Mme Schodel carried piano scores of operas from abroad and occasionally instructed other singers.

6 See Vörösmarty’s critique of the opening performance: Mihály Vörösmarty, Drámák, elbeszélések, bírálatok [Dramas, Short Stories and Critiques]. III. (Budapest: Szépirodalmi, 1974), pp. 662–665.

7 Ferenc Kerényi, “A Nemzeti Színház a polgári forradalom eloestéjén (1840–1848)” [The National Theatre on the Eve of the Bourgeois Revolution (1840–1848)]. Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873, p. 282 (table).

8 According to the almanacs of the National Theatre, membership of the orchestra fluctuated between 32 and 37 in the 1840s while Bátori Mária was on; the number of players was 39 in 1852, 46 in 1858 and 45 in 1859–1860.

9 The National Theatre soon achieved such an advantage over the German Municipal Theatre in the field of playing operas that the latter stopped staging regular opera performances long before it burnt down in 1847. The primacy of the National Theatre is reinforced by the travel report of the great Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen visiting Pest in 1842: “Buda has a theatre, too, Pest possesses even two (not to mention the summer theatre in Városliget), the most famous of them being the National Theatre in which only Hungarian plays are performed [sic]. It is also used as a concert hall...” See Útikalandok a régi Magyarországon [Travel Adventures in Former Hungary]. Ed. Sándor Haraszti–Tibor Petho. (Budapest: Táncsics, 1963). = Útikalandok, 41.

10 Erkel composed two series of variations on the themes from Csel, which are now lost but the fragmentary manuscript of a further series of variations on a theme from the opera for piano and string quintet survived. See Ervin Major, Erkel Ferenc muveinek jegyzéke. Bibliográfiai kísérlet [The Catalogue of the Works Ferenc Erkel. A Bibliographical Attempt], offprint of Zenei Szemle 1947. II., III. Budapest, 1947, p. 7; Ervin Major, “Erkel Ferenc muveinek jegyzéke. Második bibliográfiai kísérlet” [The Catalogue of the Works Ferenc Erkel. Second Bibliographical Attempt], Magyar Zenetörténeti Tanulmányok. Ed. Ferenc Bónis. (Budapest: Zenemukiadó, 1968), pp. 11–43, particularly p. 17, as well as Amadé Németh, A magyar opera története a kezdetektol az Operaház megnyitásáig [The History of the Hungarian Opera from the Beginnings to the Opening of the Opera House]. (Budapest: Zenemukiadó, 1987), p. 47.

11 András Dugonics, Bátori Mária. Szomorú történet öt szakaszban. Endrody Sándornak Dugonicsról írt tanulmányával. [Bátori Mária. A Tragedy in Five Acts. With a Study on Dugonics by Sándor Endrody], (Budapest: Aigner, 1881).

12 Amadé Németh, A magyar opera története a kezdetektol az Operaház megnyitásáig [The History of Hungarian Opera from the Beginnings to the Opening of the Opera House], p. 57. – In the 1835/1836 season of the Theatre at Buda Castle Benjámin Egressy appeared in Dugonics’s play as Szepelik. See Gyula B. Bérczessy, Egressy Béni zenei alkotásainak jegyzéke [Catalogue of the Musical Works by Béni Egressy]. Manuscript commissioned by the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

13 Canto 3, verses 118–136.

14 Deutsche Theater in Pest und Ofen 1770–1850. Normativer Titelkatalog und Dokumentation. 2 vols. Ed. Hedvig Belitska-Scholtz and Olga Somorjai. (Budapest: Argumentum, 1995), vol. II, p. 664, No. 4726.

15 Cited in Gusztáv Heinrich’s study to the edition of Dugonics’s drama (Olcsó Könyvtár, 1887). See also Kálmán D’Isoz, “Egressy Béni elso dalmuszövegkönyvérol” [On Béni Egressy’s first opera libretto], offprint of Nos. 16 and 17 of Zeneközlöny IX. (Budapest: 1911).

16 Deutsche Theater in Pest und Ofen 1770–1850. Vol. I, p. 455, No. 2941, as well as Wolfgang Binal, Deutschsprachiges Theater in Budapest. (Wien: 1972), p. 477.

17 Regélo, 27 January l839.

18  Julius Fr. von Soden, Ignez de Castro. Ein Trauerspiel, in fünf Aufzügen. Augsburg 1789. = Deutsche Schaubühne, 5. (with two other dramas.)

19 Deutsche Theater in Pest und Ofen 1770–1850, Vol. I, p. 453, No. 2924.

20 Ferenc Kerényi, “Az erdélyi magyar hivatásos színészet kezdetei (1792–1797)” [The Beginnings of Professional Hungarian Acting in Transylvania 1792–1797], in Magyar színháztörténet 1790–1873., p. 91.

21 The first edition is cited in Amadé Németh, A magyar opera története a kezdetektol az Operaház megnyitásáig [The History of Hungarian Opera from the Beginnings to the Opening of the Opera House], (Budapest: Zenemukiadó, 1987), p. 58.

22 Ferenc Kerényi, “Magyar színészet Pest-Budán (1790–1797)” [Hungarian Acting in Pest-Buda (1790–1797)], in Magyar Színháztörténet 1790–1873, p. 76.

23 Dugonics used a source in which Álmos appeared as the son of Lampert, the younger brother of Ladislaus. Consequently, Álmos’s claim to the throne is branded unlawful from the beginning. However, the sources calling Álmos the brother of Kálmán are greater in number. See Ferenc Makk, A tizenkettedik század története [The History of the Twelfth Century] (Budapest: Pannonica, 2000), p. 9. = Magyar Századok.

24 The historical Álmos later applied for help abroad on several occasions, stirred up an uprising and attempted to make his own son Béla the heir to the throne instead of the childless István. In the end king Kálmán had both of them blinded. Nevertheless, Béla succeeded István on the throne and is recorded in Hungarian history as Béla the Blind. – The Byzantine sub-plot is included in Dugonics’s play, but not in the opera; confronted with the expansionist policy of Kálmán on the Balkans, the Emperor of Byzantium Ioannes hoped to take the winds out of the Hungarian king’s sails through marriage and married Kálmán’s sister Piroska who assumed the name Eirene in the Orthodox Church. In the drama she sends Kálmán the second letter which, together with the one from Sicily, finally clears up the intrigue. See Ferenc Makk, op. cit., pp. 32–33.

25 It is an unfounded assertion that the enemy in Bátori Mária is represented by Romanians (Ferenc Kerényi, “A Nemzeti Színház a polgári forradalom eloestéjén” [The National Theatre on the Eve of the Bourgeois Revolution], Magyar színháztörténet 1790–1873., 320), even if István happens to arrive to Buda from Dalmatia via Transylvania, more precisely Marosvásárhely.

26 Szepelik, Árvai: “Here comes the usurper with his rampant troops. / Does he not bring with him women of pleasure, / to bury our country’s worries in their luscious groins.(No. 2 Marcia ongarese trionfale)

27 Cited by Ferenc Makk, op. cit, p. 51.

28 According to recent research this name came into being through misreading. See Ferenc Makk, op. cit, p. 16.

29 The artistic and practical problems of integrating an original locally composed opera into the international repertory are referred to by a review on the premičre: „Diese ausserordentliche Theilnahme kann dem wakern Kompositeur zu um so grösserem Ruhme gereichen, da man weiss, wie schwierig es ist, mit einer Originaloper, die nicht aus Paris oder Italien kommt, zu reussieren.” (“This extraordinary interest can do all the greater credit to the brave composer as we know how difficult it is to succeed with a genuine opera that does not come from Paris or Italy”.) Der Spiegel, 3 February 1841.

30 Athenaeum, 3 February 1841.

31 Pesther Tageblatt, 12 August 1840.

32 The audience of Bánk bán evidently did not need any particular help when it recognised the opening motif of the Hungarian march from Bátori Mária (No. 2) in one of Petur’s recitatives. They appear there “on the right (national) side” in a dramatic conflict in which oppositions are far more elaborate musically.

33 Athenaeum, 4 January 1842.

34 Honmuvész, 13 August 1840.

35 See Imre Vahot, “Még egy szózat a magyar színházról” [One More Word on the Hungarian Theatre], Regélo Pesti Divatlap, 28 April 1842; and Vahot Imre válogatott színházi írásai (1840–1848). [Selected Essays on Theatre by Imre Vahot], (Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1981), pp. 9–62., esp. pp. 29–31. = Színháztörténeti Könyvtár, 12. (Fascimile of the 1840 edition.) as well as Egressy Gábor válogatott cikkei (1838–1848) [Selected Articles by Gábor Egressy], (Budapest: Magyar Színházi Intézet, 1980), pp. 22–26., esp. p. 25. = Színháztörténeti Könyvtár, 11.

36 “There is no Hungarian musical style yet, or it is just on the point of being created by the good Erkel. ... Once this musical style will be created and will be taken on by other artists, it will lend itself to the writing of all kinds of works just as in the French, Italian and German idioms now.” (Andor Vas [Ferenc Hazucha], “Hangászati levelek” [Musical letters], Életképek, 1844, I/7); “the Hungarian music is practically called to form one of the independent, separate and original branches of the trunk of musical arts...” (Mihály Mosonyi, “A magyar zene” [Hungarian music], Zenészeti Lapok, 3 October 1860); “...Providence points to us, so to say, with its finger that through the artistic evolution of Hungarian music we should establish the fourth world-famous musical manner: the Hungarian idiom (beside the German, Italian and French musical trends and schools).” (Mihály Mosonyi, Zenészeti Lapok I, 17 July 1861, p. 330) – When Erkel wrote commentaries to the numbers of Bánk bán he ranked the Hungarian style with the rest of the national styles in the same sense. See Ferenc Bónis, “Erkel Ferenc a Bánk bánról” [Ferenc Erkel on Bánk bán], Magyar Zenetörténeti Tanulmányok. Írások Erkel Ferencrol és a magyar zene korábbi századairól. Ed. Ferenc Bónis, (Budapest: Zenemukiadó, 1968), pp. 63–73.

37 Pesther Tageblatt, 12 August 1840; Honmuvész, 13 August 1840. István Barna published both critiques almost in full in the original language and in Hungarian translation as well in his study “Erkel Ferenc elso operái az egykorú sajtó tükrében” [Ferenc Erkel’s First Operas in the Light of Contemporary Press Reports], Zenetudományi Tanulmányok II Erkel Ferenc és Bartók Béla emlékére, (Budapest: Akadémiai, 1954), pp. 175–218, esp. p. 176 and pp. 183–186, respectively).

38 „Die Musik hat durch und durch einen national-charakteristischen Anstrich, viele Schönheiten, worunter besonders die Chöre, das Quartett in der Introduction, das erste Finale &c. &c. zu rechnen sind...” (Der Spiegel, 12 August 1840)

39 „Die Ankunft des Herzogs kündigt sich in einem Marsch an, der, von der Banda allein ausgeführt, nicht den Effekt machte, den er hervorgebracht haben würde, wenn das volle Orchester mitgewirkt hätte. – Eine Banda allein gefällt nicht in einem geschlossenem Raum, und ist, wie überhaupt alle Harmoniemusik, mehr für das Freie angewiesen. – Das darauffolgende Duett ist einfach und wirksam.” Pesther Tageblatt, 12 August 1840.

40 In his pioneering study “Az Erkel-kéziratok problémái” [Problems of Erkel’s Manuscripts] László Somfai claims that the German critique refers to the fanfare after the Romanza and not to the Coro. It is improbable, however, that the critic would have left the Coro (No. 5) completely unmentioned while he described a musically insignificant moment of thirteen bars which had already been heard in the opera once, before the Marcia; it is also improbable that the critic would have referred to the short fanfare as “march”. (Zenetudományi Tanulmányok IX. Az opera történetébol, (Budapest: Akadémiai, 1961), pp. 81–158, esp. pp. 104–106.)

41 Honmuvész, 4 February, 1841.

42 Dem. Felber, die junge, anmuthige Sängerin, die die Titelparthie in sehr kurzer Zeit studierte, sang mit allem Aufwande ihrer schönen Stimme, und war besonders in den höhern Tonlagen ausgezeichnet.” Der Spiegel, 12 August, 1840. (See also note 38.)

43 See Nemzeti Színházi Zsebkönyv 1842dik évre [Pocketbook of the National Theatre for the year 1842]. Pest, 1842, p. 15.

44 Ibidem, p. 31.

45 Honderu, 23 September, 1843.

46 The flute part of the cadenza survives on a small-sized page of music (probably in Erkel’s handwriting) attached to the part-book of the flute. The entry “Hollósy-Cadenz” in several places of the orchestral indicates that Erkel composed the cadenza for the popular soprano.

47 „Miss Luiza Liebhart will also sing a new aria in the second act written explicitly for her by the composer” – says the playbill of the four performances to be staged “with a new cast and production”. The newspaper Pesti Napló also reports on the new aria: “Miss Luiza Liebhardt distinguished herself in Mária’s role through her singing and acting alike, the highlight of her role was, however, the Hungarian song written by Mr Erkel explicitly for the actress which was received with genuinely enthusiastic thunderous applause by the audience and was repeated by the actress” (26 June, 1852); “She was particularly excellent in the artful aria composed for her which she sang with surprising ease and precision.” (13 July, 1852).

48 The so far unknown and unpublished words of the aria run as follows; “Look upon me oh, merciful heavens / and give me strength in my struggle. / Should I have to perish, Lord God / Be it at your will. / Let your guardian angels protect / My poor innocent children / In this storm / Let him be protected by angels”.

49 Koszorú, first half of 1864, p. 239; Magyar Sajtó, 22 December, 1864, p. 1368.; Magyar Sajtó, 28 March, 1865, p. 302.

50 Hölgyfutár, 3 February, 1858.

51 “Erkel’s ‘Bátori Mária’ is being diligently rehearsed at the National Theatre so that it could go on stage as soon as possible. The eminent composer has carried out a few advantageous changes on his earlier opera, as one hears. In particular, the role of Mme. Hollósy-Lonovics is said to be extremely beautiful and very effective.” Hölgyfutár, 28 January, 1858.

52 “[The audience] warmly acclaimed its favourite actress Mme. Hollósy-Lonovics in the aria of the first act and in the duet sung jointly with Jekelfalussy which, with the brilliant quartet of the first act, can be claimed to be the highlight of the opera.” (Magyar Sajtó, 4 February, 1858) “The duet of the first act (between Mme Hollósy and Jekelfalusy) is one of the most difficult pieces to sing.” (Pesti Napló, 4 February, 1858.) “The audience is moved not only by the larger orchestral and singing ensembles and marches but also by the lyrical sections, for example, the nicely conceived duet between Mária Bátori (Mme. Hollósy) and István (Jekelfalussi).” (Hölgyfutár, 10 March, 1858)

53 Five larger cuts can be reconstructed from the sources. The Con moto section (81–140) was cut very early and was not copied into the common part-book of the cello and double bass made before 1842. (Anton Weindl, cellist of the orchestra, who had it copied, died in 1841.) The passage in question was, however, restored later which is confirmed by the entries “gilt” [valid] of the part-books as well as the entries “Einlage Con Moto” in the later part-books which evidently refer to inserted pages by now lost. In one of the booklets of the second violin (Vl II/1) a note in pencil reading “Harfe” can be found; the pocketbooks of the theatre list a harpist from 1848 on, although she was already engaged at the theatre in 1846 (see Tibor Tallián, “Átváltozások, avagy a Nemzeti Színház operai kottatárának néhány tanulsága” [Metamorphoses or Some Lessons of the Operatic Collection of the National Theatre], Zenetudományi dolgozatok 1999, Budapest: Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1999, pp. 281–286). The section concerned was definitely performed between 1846 and 1852. The cuts affect ever longer sections: the section from 41 to 80 also fell victim to it, the Con moto was cut again and finally Alla polacca as well (142–204).

54 See Dezso Legány, Erkel Ferenc muvei és korabeli történetük [The Works of Ferenc Erkel and their Contemporary History]. (Budapest: Zenemukiadó, 1975), pp. 29–31.

55 The orchestral parts, the only sources of the dances, do not indicate the name of the composer anywhere. As for the style of the compositions, one cannot be sure whether Erkel can be taken into consideration as the author of every or even one of the dances. Apart from him the names of Ferenc Kirchlehner and József Szerdahelyi emerge as possible contributors: they both performed occasional tasks of composition and instrumentation for the theatre.

56 The entries heading the slow sections (“3mal”, “4mal” [three times, four times] etc.) support the concerns that with their use on stage, the middle section of Hungarian dances is consistently missing and the Lassú [slow] is followed by Friss [fast] without transition. This concern, often heard at the time, was worded by Gergely Czuczor, as follows: “the accompanying music repeats the same verse ten or twelve times, the dance also continues steadily in the same metre. This is the fault of certain recent composers and this habit is adopted by our gypsies as well, although they had never played lassú without czifra [ornamented] afterwards and they alternated these two. Now they play lassú to the point of yawning, then they start playing the fastest sections immediately, and so the dance consists of only two, and not three parts, contrary to the old custom and the proverb [three is the number of dances] which is true only if the beginning is slow, the middle ornamented, and the end fast ... Athenaeum, 1843. I, p. 114. See also Bence Szabolcsi, A XIX. század magyar romantikus zenéje [The Hungarian Romantic Music of the 19th Century], (Budapest: Zenemukiadó, 1951), pp. 74–75.

57 The three partial performances are as follows: on 22 June, 1843 the second act was given (following an extract from Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable), on 22 August the same year a part of the second act was performed in the framework of an operatic medley. On 15 August, 1850 the overture and the “Introduction” were played (see note 59). The data are based on information gathered from contemporary play-bills in the Collection for Theatre History of the National Széchényi Library.

58 István Lakatos, A kolozsvári zenés színpad (1792–1973). Adatok az erdélyi magyar nyelvu színház történetéhez.[The Musical Stage at Kolozsvár (1792–1973). Data on the History of the Hungarian Theatre in Transylvania]. (Bukarest: Kriterion, 1977), p. 46 and 115.

59 Various sources reveal unambiguously that “Introduction” refers to the first three items of the opera. The play-bill of the “Musical and Reciting Academy ” held on 15 August, 1850 – in the first part of which the “overture and the introduction” were produced in costume – mentions the personae appearing in the first three numbers but does not list Mária in the enumeration of actors. Der Spiegel uses the word unambiguously in the above cited critique of 12 August, 1840 (“das Quartett in der Introduction”). It is not impossible that the “Introduction” was played on occasions when “excerpts” from the first act were performed at orchestral concerts on 1 November, 1840; 6 November, 1842; 22 March, 1846; 25 December, 1847 in Pest. See Kálmán D’Isoz (A pest-budai hangászegyesület és nyilvános hangversenyei 1836–1853 [The Music Society of Pest-Buda and its Public Concerts 1836–1853]). Tanulmányok Budapest múltjából III. Offprint. (Budapest: 1934). Kálmán D’Isoz erroneously interpreted the “Introduction” as the overture. – The overture was often performed with the Quartetto; e.g. at the “Academy of Singing, Music and Recitation” at the National Theatre on 16 March, 1856 and, remarkably, at Erkel’s last public appearance, the Philharmonic Concert organised for his eightieth birthday; although on this occasion the two numbers did not succeed each other.

60 The first performance of the overture at the beginning of the opera is solely mentioned in Pesti Hírlap of 13 November, 1841: “The recently composed overture, the sound of choruses and soloists were the best.” (at a performance for Erkel’s benefit). The date 11 November spread widely in the literature is erroneous. No performance of Bátori Mária was given that day; the Tuesday mentioned in the report fell on 9 November.

61 Entries in the orchestral parts of the overture bear witness to following performances: Den 28. März 1844 im Deutschen Theater, Saphiers Akademie für die ungar: Pensionsfond für Künstler (trb I); Pesth, den 1. Jan. 1856 and Arad, 22 Március [March] 1856 (both tr I); Kazinczi százados ünnepe elo estéjén csináltuk 1859 october 27 [we made it on the eve of captain Kazinczi’s feast, on 27 October 1859] (co I); 22 Dezemb. 1859 Pesth, zur Pensionsfond des Nat. Theaters (co II); Pest am 22. Dezember 1863 (tr I, II); la prima volta al 22/7 1870 (trb II); 1883 (cl II); Aufgeführt zum 80. Geburtstagsfeier des Komponisten am 7. Nov. 1890 (trb I); Montag Ludwig 17. 11. 1892 (vl I, 2nd stand); Festvorstellung Szegedin am 20 November 1892 (fg I); Montag Lajos 933 Budapest and Péter Ackermann, on 13 November 1933 im Radio (both double bass); Raj István 1935. VI. 27 (tr I). See also Pesti Divatlap (Pest Fashion Magazine) 21 November, 1844 and further reviews on performances by Dezso Legány (Nagyszombat, 1844, in Erkel Ferenc muvei és korabeli történetük, 31 [The Works of Ferenc Erkel and Their Backgrounds, 31]) and Kálmán D’Isoz (March 27, 1899, Budapest, in A Filharmóniai Társaság múltja és jelene, 1853-1903 [The Past and Present of the Philharmonic Society, 1853-1903, ed. Imre Mészáros and Kálmán D’Isoz]

62 The conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Brussels asked the director of Harmónia music publisher of Budapest for Hungarian orchestral works; this is how he must have got into possession of the Bátori-overture. Egyetértés, 3 January, 1882. See Dezso Legány, Erkel Ferenc muvei és korabeli történetük [The Works of Ferenc Erkel and their Contemporary History], p. 31.

63 The performance of the overture that day is confirmed by the entry mentioned in the previous note as well as by the actual playbill of Kemény Simon; the data on singing Himnusz emerges from the 3 January 1856 issue of Pesti Napló.

64 After Vörösmarty’s death “the performance of his works becomes a patriotic demonstration when the ladies appear in mourning veils and the actors, used to the chatting tone of social plays, strenuously recite the sonorous verses of Áldozat [Sacrifice] on the stage. Afterwards they produce Áldozat [Sacrifice] annually, first on the anniversary of Vörösmarty’s death, later, on the day of his funeral, and reel it off dutifully.” See Jolán Pukánszky Kádár A Nemzeti Színház százéves története [The One-Hundred-Year History of the National Theatre]. Vol. I. (Budapest: Magyar Történelmi Társulat, 1940), p. 264. The performance of the overture introducing Áldozat on 27 October, 1859 is also mentioned in one of the entries found in the part-books (see note 61) and in the theatre’s Pocketbook of 1860. This performance happened to be the centenary celebration of the birth of Ferenc Kazinczy.

65 Above all in bars 21 (tb), 25–26 (cl), as well as in bars 47 and 49, respectively bars 312 and 314 (picc and fl), bar 80 (vc and cb), as well as bars 97–99 and 201 (co I–II). See the critical notes.

66 An additional score of the overture copied in Nyitra (now Nitra, Slovakia) 1904 and housed at the Music Collection of the Hungarian Radio goes back to the early version. This source is distorted by re-orchestrations resulting from drawing certain wind parts together; only one trombone and one bassoon instead of three, resp. two are used so that the part of the first bassoon is generally taken over by the second clarinet or by the first horn (modified accordingly) and the part of the missing trombones is often played by two horns while the only available trombone part is usually identical with the tuba part approved by Erkel. The interventions were probably necessitated by the lack of resources for performances in the country. László Somfai (“Az Erkel-kéziratok problémái” [Problems of Erkel’s Manuscripts], 105, see note 40) mentions the source en passant and attributes the re-orchestration to the change in taste. As press reports testify to a performance in Nagyszombat (now Trnava, Slovakia) in 1844 (see note 61), geographical proximity makes it easily conceivable that the source of this late copy of the score was used for a production in Nagyszombat, i. e. the early version of the overture. – However, the late variant signed by Erkel also shows signs which refer back to the earlier version relying on a reduced number of winds. In this source (RP) the second clarinet part of the slow introduction is Erkel’s later insertion in certain places and these insertions are missing from the score of Nyitra. As a result, it cannot be ruled out that the reduced instrumentation of the copy of Nyitra is not the result of intervention by a foreign hand after all, however inevitable it must have been, but goes back to a source which had been copied out before the above mentioned autograph insertions of RP. In other words; when Erkel modified his work in 1845, the earlier version had already gained wide currency in provincial towns, due to the exceptional popularity of the overture.

67 Dezso Legány, Erkel Ferenc muvei és korabeli történetük [Ferenc Erkel’s Works and Their Contemporary History], p. 31. and pp. 40–41.

68 For example to the second stanza of Mária’s Romanza (No. 4) (Már nincs a hon felett ború...” [The country is no longer in danger]) an alternative text is added: “My bosom is seized by flaming despair / torment ravages within, / Ill thoughs are haunting me / Like skeletons arising from graves. / The brave swordsman / is fighting a hundredfold of deaths, / He is prepared to fight / when the nation is in need / Guide him to my arms oh, Lord / Guide him to my arms. / Let him behold his children and wife, / Who is in anguish for him. (7r)