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Did you know...

... that an exhibition of some of Tony Curtis’ personal effects – courtesy of his widow Jill-Curtis Weber – will open in August in Mátészalka, from where his parents had emigrated? The exhibit will feature paintings and some household objects.

... that after the Shanghai performance of ”Bánk bán”, that opera has now been presented in South Korea?  On January 17th, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Hungarian-South Korean relations, and the centenary of  Korea’s independence from Japan, the Hungarian classic was presented in concert form at the Daegu Opera House.  It was a common production with the Budapest Opera company, with the local Korean orchestra and chorus participating. Apparently their Hungarian pronunciation was very good.  The presentation was a resounding success.

... that Budapest has just been voted Best European Destination by an unprecedented over half a million votes, 77% of which came from abroad, mostly from the UK, USA, Germany, France, Austria and Italy? Between January 15th and February 5th, it garnered more votes than Paris, Athens, London, Florence and Geneva. 

In the last 10 years, Budapest has become one of the most attractive and most livable cities, drawing investors, companies, startups and tourists from around the world. 

... that the national anthems of both Uruguay and Paraguay were written by a Hungarian?  Debály Ferenc József (1791-1859),well known in those countries as Francisco José Debali, was born near Kolozsvár and became a military band leader in the Austrian army. He served in Italy, and met his future wife in Sardinia.  In 1838, he left with his wife and six children to settle in Brazil.  However, yellow fever was raging in that country when the ship arrived, and it was diverted to Uruguay. 

In the long drawn out Uruguayan civil war, Debály again assumed the position of military band leader and made quite a name for himself.  So much so that he was asked to compose the music for the Uruguayan national anthem, written by Francisco Acuńa de Figueroa, which incidentally is the world’s longest, consisting of 11 stanzas.  A street in Montevideo has even been named after Debály.  In 1845, he was asked to compose the music for the Paraguayan national anthem as well, written by the same author.  In South America, Debály’s music is often compared with that of Donizetti, Verdi and Rossini. 

He never made it to Brazil.

…that Chinese-American-Hungarian documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vásárhelyi and her husband, climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Free Solo?

The motion picture has already won more than a dozen awards worldwide.  It follows climber Alex Honnold’s 2017 rope-free ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, done in less than four hours and being the first person to scale the iconic 3,000-foot granite wall in this fashion and in such record time.

Director Vásárhelyi grew up in New York.  She is the daughter of Hongkongan Marina Chai and Hungarian Miklós Vásárhelyi.

 

 

 


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