Hungary is in the process of abandoning the trappings of its Communist past, while attempting to preserve its culture from creeping Americanisation and globalised blandness. The author is glad to find that certain old-fashioned attitudes of courtesy and overall decency are still deeply ingrained in Hungarian society. Music, dance and song play an important part in Hungarian culture, which in so many ways reflects the country’s geographical position as a crossroads of Central Europe. There is a true sense of otherness here, in spite of Hungary’s geographical closeness to us.
NICHOLAS CLAPTON is a Professor of Singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2006 he presented the documentary Castrato for BBC4. He lives in Oxford and Budapest, where he is currently a visiting Professor at the Liszt Ferenc Zenemuveszeti Egyetem. He is also the author of Moreschi and the Voice of the Castrato and Moreschi, the Last Castrato.