Maestro writes blood libel opera for Budapest

Maestro writes blood libel opera for Budapest


norman lebrecht

October 08, 2013

The conductor Ivan Fischer has found a novel way to express his extreme discomfort at official anti-semitism in his native Hungary.

Fischer, who is director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, has composed an opera on a notorious 19th century incident –  the 1883 accusation in the Hungarian village of Tiszaeszlar that Jews had killed a Christian girl to use her blood for Passover bread. Some 15 Jews faced trial. They were acquitted, but the blood libel – which originated in 13th century Norwich – persisted.

blood libel


Fischer, who has been thinking about the opera for 25 years, wrote the 50-minute work over the past year as conditions worsened in his country. He will give the world premiere in Budapest this weekend.

He explains the background here to Reuters’ Michael Roddy.


  • Mike Schachter says:

    My grandfather was a medical witness for the defence, and my father spoke about it often. At least there was a legal process which came to the correct conclusion, though the prejudice and bigotry did not go away.

  • Thank you for posting this. I have passed this on to some pro Israel groups. Anti Semitism is my pet hate.