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Budapest Spring Festival

Some people celebrate the end of winter by hunting for eggs, parading in the streets, or planting. But during a holiday in Budapest, spring is met with music, dance, and performance art. Dubbed the most prestigious event of the year, the Budapest Spring Festival showcases local and international talent to zealous support and tumultuous applause. This 2009, it is set for the 20th of March to the 5th of April.

Beauty can't be separated from Hungary's capital. You'll see it in the gardens of the Royal Palace Area, a bouquet of purple, red, yellow and more blooms; the terraces of Fisherman's Bastion, its towers like grey gnome's hats; and the whimsical curves of the Geological Institute of Budapest building, crowned in bright blue Zsolnay tiles. It is precisely this virtue which is honoured during the Budapest Spring Festival. The merry-making happens all over the city, in such venues as the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Matthias Church, and the Palace of Arts.

Bartok, Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Stravinsky are brought to life by the most illustrious violinists, pianists, and percussionists during the 2009 festival. Part of the line-up are the cimbalom player Ágnes Szakály, French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, and the 40-year old Kodály Quartet. The sounds of Ghana, Uganda, and Zimbabwe can be sampled at the Academy of Music, too.

Enter the beguiling world of the East through the operetta "Die Bajadere" scheduled at the Budapest Operetta Theatre. It involves a prince from Lahore who woos a Parisian artist, with a lot of Indian temple dancers and singers in the background. The American Trey McIntyre Project is another show that's sure to dazzle. Suspended in motion, leaping into the air, running, arching, and flexing in a ripple of jaw-dropping movement... the select ballet dancers are set to win hearts all over Budapest.

From the "Special Treats" category of exhibitions are the mimes of "Semianyki - Addams family Russian style: [A] comic portrait of a crazy family"; Max Raabe, who, along with the Palast Orchester, croons pop songs in the style of the 20s and 30s to hilarious effect; and "Haydn Supper: An evening in the court of Prince Nicholas Esterházy 'the Magnificent'", which is an 18th century-themed feast.

There is entertainment for children too, such as "The Little Mole and His Friends" animated films; "Let's go to Rio!" where a ringmaster (mime artist Csaba Méhes) tames five animals (the Brass in the Five brass quintet); and "Let’s Set Out to See the World!", a game, storytelling activity, and roleplaying event in one.

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