The Universe of Joseph Haydn and the Family Eszterházy.

The EU-membership of Hungary and Slovakia has engendered a new feeling of openness and cooperation in the region Vienna-Eisenstadt-Sopron-Bratislava, the cultural universe of the eighteenth-century composer Joseph Haydn. Although Haydn worked and lived in this relatively small region for most of his active career, his fame spread steadily throughout the world during his lifetime (1732-1809), and today he is regarded as a pivotal figure in the history of Western music.

Haydn was born in Rohrau, halfway between Bratislava and Vienna. From 1761 until his death, he was in the service of the influential and wealthy Princes Esterházy, who maintained residences in many places, including Vienna, Eisenstadt, Kittsee (near Bratislava) and Eszterháza (near Sopron).

In 1781, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy (1714-1790) replaced an earlier theatre in Eszterháza with a fully equipped Opera House, and over the course of the next decade, Haydn wrote original operas, and adapted a large number of operas by other composers, for this theatre. In fact, the operas were so closely tailored to the acoustics and stage of this theatre that he declared: "Nowhere else can they make the same effect". Unfortunately, the Opera House at Eszterháza was demolished in the nineteenth century, thereby disfiguring the graceful symmetry of the original composition of palace and gardens. This lingering imbalance, though, has inspired a bold initiative.

EstherhazaIn 2003, an International Symposium on the Opera House at Eszterháza, organised by the Hungarian Haydn Society, in cooperation with and financed by the Hungarian Trust of Historic Buildings, revealed that the design of the 1781 Opera House remains so well documented that its reconstruction could be given serious consideration.