Principal Guest Conductor – Hungarian State Opera
Kapellmeister – Deutsche Oper am Rhein

Péter Halász is one of the most versatile Hungarian conductors. In recent years he has premiered numerous operas, which won great acclaim from Hungarian and international critics alike, with the conductors’ verve, and precise and analytical work coming in for especial praise. At the core of his repertoire are the works of the First Viennese School and the German Romantics. At the same time, he frequently conducts the Italian repertoire as well as contemporary music.

“Thanks to Péter Halász’s euphoric yet clear and precise conducting, the Budapest Ring possesses a unique dimension and quality – and reaches the standard of the opera houses of Frankfurt or Stuttgart.”
- Deutschlandradio Kultur

“What we hear from the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker under the direction of Péter Halász amazes us again and again. It possesses a finely-honed virtuosity, while at the same time it never overpowers the strong, yet nuanced voice parts.”
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

From the 2023/24 season, Péter Halász is the principal guest conductor of the Hungarian State Opera. This season, alongside the Hungarian premiere of Dvorak’s Rusalka, Budapest can also witness his direction of Richard Strauss’s Arabella and a double-bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. He will also lead two concert programmes at the Opera House: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Mahler’s arrangement at the New Year’s concert, and Mascagni’s Messa di Gloria at Easter.

In 2021 Péter was appointed permanent conductor (Kapellmeister) at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. During the 2023/24 season, he will conduct Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Verdi’s La traviata and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Düsseldorf.

In the 2022/23 season, Péter conducted the premiere of Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans, which enjoyed great acclaim from both audiences and critics alike. In addition to this, he garnered rave reviews for his presentation of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur in Duisburg. In the course of the season, he also conducted revivals of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in Düsseldorf.

His most recent productions at the Hungarian State Opera were the premiere of Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail in 2021, the premiere of Bach’s Cross Cantatas in 2022, and the revival of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos in 2023.

Péter Halász was born in Budapest. After studying piano and composition in his native city, he went on to study conducting under Leopold Hager at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien and the years he spent there still define his taste and musical aesthetic. He took master classes in Lucerne as a student of Bernard Haitink. He has been massively influenced by Ádám Fischer. Their work together began when Péter acted as assistant to the renowned conductor at the Haydn Festival Eisenstadt and their relationship has continued to the present day.

After completing his studies, Péter coached young singers as a member of the International Opera Studio at Opernhaus Zürich. Following this, he was engaged as a coach and conductor by Staatstheater Mainz where he has collected a big repertoire of operas.

From 2011 Péter was the deputy music director of Theater Aachen and Sinfonieorchester Aachen. In his two seasons he conducted the premieres of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Superflumina, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, and Poulenc’s La voix humaine together with Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. With the premieres in Aachen of Ariodante and Alcina, Péter initiated a Händel cycle played on period instruments. He additionally conducted performances of Bizet’s Carmen, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, while Tristan und Isolde was significant as the first time he had conducted a Wagner opera.

As music director of the Hungarian State Opera from 2013 to 2016, Péter was responsible for many successful premieres. The first of these was Verdi’s Falstaff, timed to coincide with the two hundredth anniversary of the composer’s birth. A milestone in Hungarian operatic life was when he premiered the first ever domestic performance of Richard Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten, which enjoyed a fantastic reception from critics and audiences alike and has been one of the Hungarian State Opera’s most prominent productions ever since. In collaboration with Academy Award-winning director Jiri Menzel, Péter presented Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte featuring the cream of young Hungarian singers in the principal roles. In the same season he also conducted Weber’s Der Freischütz. 2015 saw the inception of a brand-new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle with Das Rheingold, which was followed by Die Walküre in 2016, and Siegfried in 2017; featuring in the operas were such international stars as Linda Watson, Tomasz Konyeczny. When in 2016, Thomas Adès’ The Tempest received its first ever Eastern European performance, it was also the first occasion on which a stage work by the preeminent contemporary composer had been performed in Hungary.

It was at the invitation of Ádám Fischer that Péter made his debut at the Hungarian State Opera with Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia in 2010. Since then he has regularly led repertoire performances in Budapest, including Verdi’s Rigoletto (with Ambrogio Maestri in the title role), Nabucco, and La traviata; Puccini’s Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Tosca and La bohéme; Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le nozze die Figaro; and Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. In 2016 he was the conductor for Plácido Domingo’s gala concert, which was the great tenor’s first ever performance at the Hungarian State Opera. Péter has also conducted gala concerts by such world-famous singers as Angela Gheorghiu, Ailyn Perez, Anja Kampe, Vesselina Kassarova, Gregory Kunde, Piotr Beczala, and Feruccio Furlanetto.

In 2015 Péter was invited to join Staatsoper Hamburg, where he made his debut with Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and it was here that he conducted Mozart’s Die Entführung in 2021 and 2023, and Don Giovanni in 2022.

In 2021, he directed the premiere of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Theater Bern, and in 2022 he was the conductor for the premiere of Rossini’s Cenerentola at the Latvian National Opera.

Péter has also worked as a guest conductor for many other German opera houses and symphony orchestras – Baadisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Staatstheater Kassel, Saarlaendisches Staatstheater, Staatsorchester Nürnberg, to name just some.

In 2016 Zoltán Kocsis personally invited Péter to conduct the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time. Péter has also frequently led concerts by many other leading Hungarian symphony orchestras.

In 2019 he worked as a guest Professor at the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation’s Master Course for Conductors at the invitation of Peter Eötvös himself.

From 2023/24, as a visiting professor at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Péter will teach a course in conducting for opera.

In 2017 he was awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic.

Péter is married and he is the proud father of two children. He likes to spend his free time with his family, but is also keen on literature, the fine arts and cookery.

Oldal tetejére