Zoltan Kodaly : Hary Janos

Viena, Konzerthaus Wien, 2007 (Audio)

Director: Adam Fischer



  • Bela Perencz (Hary Janos)
  • Judith Nemeth (Orsze)
  • Judit Geötz (Empress)
  • Eric Freulon (Napoleon)
  • Viktor Massanyi (Oreg)Archivos para descarga:
    1. https://www.rapidshare.com/files/1539506905/Kodaly%20HARY%20JANOS%202007.05.28%20Wien.rar


Wien, Konzerthaus.May 28, 2007

Kinderchor des Ungarischen Rundfunks
Chor und Orchester des Ungarischen rundfunks

The story is of a veteran hussar in the Austrian army in the first half of the 19th century who sits in the village inn regaling his listeners with fantastic tales of heroism (in the tradition of Miles Gloriosus).
His supposed exploits include winning the heart of the Empress Marie Louise, the wife of Napoleon, and then single-handedly defeating Napoleon and his armies. Nevertheless, he finally renounces all riches in order to go back to his village with his sweetheart.

Kodály wrote in his preface to the score: “Háry is a peasant, a veteran soldier who day after day sits at the tavern spinning yarns about his heroic exploits… the stories released by his imagination are an inextricable mixture of realism and naivety, of comic humour and pathos.” He also comments that “though superficially he appears to be merely a braggart, essentially he is a natural visionary and poet. That his stories are not true is irrelevant, for they are the fruit of a lively imagination, seeking to create, for himself and for others, a beautiful dream world.”[3] Háry János embodies the poetic power of folklore to go beyond political frustrations; Kodály intended to bring his national folk music to an operatic setting.

The opera, and the suite, begin with an orchestral ‘musical sneeze’, best explained in Kodály’s own words: “According to Hungarian superstition, if a statement is followed by a sneeze of one of the hearers, it is regarded as confirmation of its truth. The Suite begins with a sneeze of this kind! One of Háry’s group of faithful listeners … sneezes at the wildest assertions of the old tale-spinner.”



Prologue – The Tale Begins
In the Hungarian village of Nagyabony regulars gather at the tavern, to listen to the tales of the old soldier Háry János. With glass in hand they listen to his tales.
First Adventure – On the frontier near Moscow
A border crossing point; frost and ice on the Austrian side, sun shining on the Hungarian side. János and Örzse meet Mária Lujza the daughter of the Emperor Franz at the border crossing where she is not being allowed to cross. János pushes the border gate along the ground, so that she finds herself across the frontier; in gratitude the princess immediately rewards him with an offer to come to Vienna and enter the Imperial Guard. Örzse follows him.
Second Adventure – In the Garden of Vienna Burg
Háry János enjoys the attentions of the princess and eventually becomes a general, to the fury of the envious the chamberlain Ebelasztin who then serves a declaration of war with Napoleon.
Third Adventure – A battlefield at Milan.
Háry János single-handedly wins the battle and has Napoleon kneeling for mercy. The emperor’s wife now wants to win his heart, to the consternation of Örzse.
Fourth Adventure – Vienna Burg.
The preparations for the wedding of Háry and the infatuated princess are underway. Örzse arrives to take leave of Háry but he is true to her and his homeland, so despite all the imperial trappings they leave the court.
Back at the inn in Nagyabony János concludes by saying that the condition of freeing Napoleon was that a gold watch should be sent to the headman of the village – who replies that he never got it. János states that the only person who can corroborate his story is Örzse – who is now dead.


From the music of the opera, Kodály extracted the orchestral Háry János Suite, a popular piece in the classical repertoire. This notably includes the cimbalom, a traditional Hungarian variant of the hammer dulcimer. The world première of the suite was at the Gran Teatro del Liceo Barcelona, on 24 March 1927, by the Pau Casals Orchester conducted by Antal Fleischer.

The movements of the Háry János Suite are as follows:

Prelude; the Fairy Tale Begins
Viennese Musical Clock
The Battle and Defeat of Napoleon
Entrance of the Emperor and His Court

People may assume that the title Háry János refers to a man named Harry. In Hungarian, names are always presented in the order ‘surname’, ‘first name’ (as in Bartók Béla and Liszt Ferenc). Therefore, the title refers to a man called János (a common first name in Hungary, equivalent to the English John), whose surname is Háry. The name was never ‘anglicized’ (i.e. with the names put in the more usual order) outside Hungary.