Ferenc Farkas: The magic cupboard

Ferenc Farkas The magic cupboard
The magic cupboard

Ferenc Farkas: The magic cupboard

Year of composition:
comic opera in 5 acts
Ferenc Farkas
Text author:
Gyula Kunszery
Karlheinz Gutheim
1 1 1 1 - 2 1 1 0, str quint
Instrumentation details:
clarinet in Bb
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
trumpet in C
1st violin
2nd violin
double bass
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Work introduction

Suleika’s husband Hassan has been locked up for brawling with a sheik. Feeling lonely, the young woman hurries to the qadi, the grand vizier and the mufti. Each of them promises her that he will free Hassan if she receives them in the evening. Suleika agrees. She persuades a master carpenter to make a cupboard with four doors at once, by promising him a dalliance with her, too. The qadi is the first to visit her that evening. Before promising to yield to his advances, she obliges him to pardon Hassan. There is a knock at the door – there is only one escape for the qadi; he must hide in the cupboard.

The grand vizier and mufti arrive together – and suffer the same fate when the master carpenter shows up. Deviously, Suleika manages to despatch the master carpenter into the fourth compartment, before hurrying away to free Hussan. Meanwhile, neighbours discover the four men, locked up and wailing in the cupboard …

From the programme booklet / world premiere, Zurich Opera House

“I have lived through two world wars, several revolutions and counterrevolutions; I do not wish to shock my audiences – I have been shocked enough in my life. I want to make them happy, just as composing makes me happy – I want to pass that happiness along to listeners.”

Ferenc Farkas

World première

Opernhaus Zürich, Zürich (CH)
Thomas Blum

Press reviews

Ferenc Farkas’ opera The Magic Cupboard has had a new production after remaining unplayed for five years. It is beyond all dispute the greatest Hungarian comic opera: sparkling, spirited, stagy. Generally, opera production is very poor in Hungary – that is why we are so excited about the premieres of Ferencz Szabó’s and Pál Kadosa’s new operas. Jenö Kenessey gave the dance performance Majális – the (Budapest) Opera has scheduled a dance show by Ferencz Farkas and Szervánszky.

György Ligeti, February 1950

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