Classical music is widely and expertly presented throughout Europe, but there are few better places than Budapest for indulging in some diverting and inspiring concerts. Travelers new to the city can be easily misled by the profusion of seemingly similar venues and performance spaces, but the following are the best that Budapest has to offer:
1. Vigadó Concert Hall
Badly damaged by bombing in WWII, this iconic structure was built to replace another concert hall on the same site after it burned to the ground during the Hungarian War of Independence in 1859. The building itself is better than the musical efforts performed within, which has declined if reports of years past are to be believed, but the offerings are still much better than the second and third rate concerts found elsewhere in the city.
2. Hungarian State Opera
A well-funded, carefully-managed, performance venue of international renown, the State Opera is one of the best places in the world to enjoy works by Mozart, Strauss, Liszt, Verdi, Mendelssohn and others, all of which are represented in the company’s current repertoire.
3. Liszt Ferenc Music Academy
Equal parts performance venue and training ground for future classical musicians, the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy is rich with history and prestigious alumni. A living monument to Hungarian musical giants, the Art Nouveau style building is also home to valuable books and manuscripts donated by Franz Liszt upon his death. Far and away the most prestigious music university in Hungary, the institution is also home to a relatively new folk music program whose fruits are well worth a listen.