Centenary of the Hungarian Cabaret

September 15th, 2007.

Centenary of the Hungarian Cabaret - Ernő Kondor night, with the artists of the Mini Microscope Theater





Photos by: Gábor Dékány


 The article of Andrea Szabó, taken from the newspaper "Nógrád Megyei Hírlap":


Translation of the article:

Comedy, which helps us through the tragedies of life.

As a worthy sequel for the Iván Markó shows, as a salute before the varied cultural roots of our town, Béla Majdán historian suprised the city with another, somewhat poignant memorial day.

Maybe it's a little odd to say poignant, when we speak about the performance of a variety theater, but we have to agree with the director of the Microscope Theater, József Sas, the real comedy comes from sadness. On 15th September, on the 100th birthday of the Hungarian Cabaret, they also remembered to a famous citizen of our riverside little town, and also to our long lost, but once prosperous Jewish heritage. Zoltán Réti, painter, music historian, the freeman of both the city and our county held a memorial speech, in which he recalled his relationship with Ernő Kondor. This speech took place in front of the Museum of local History (Csillag-house), by the statue of Ernő Kondor. Zoltán Réti knew the whole Kondor family personally, because he served as a teacher on their lordship at Kiscsalomja in 1942. And later Ernő Kondor founded the Hungarian cabaret, when he established the theater called "Bonboniere" in Budapest. It was a great achievment, that he managed to mix together the lighter jokes and entertainment with the arts, and with musical and artistical literacy. His cabaret was a huge success in Nagyvárad. He also became a world-famous musician, when he created his song "The old Gipsy", which was translated to 20 languages. It also won a song-contest in the USA, it was choosen from 1000 songs, and Ernő Kondor won 5000 USD with it. But Zoltán Réti also pointed out, that the famous composer of many great songs, was not so successful when it came to handling his money, and he died in utter poverty in 1951. After his speech, the mayor of the town, Lajos Medvácz and Gusztáv Zoltai, President of the Alliance of the Hungarian Faith Communes, and the delegates of the town's jewish community also placed girdles on his monument.

The event continued at the cinema, which was filled with visitors. Actors József Sas, Péter Beregi and József Böröczky were performing, and they were accompanied with piano and drum.

-"Humor helped this little nation over the greatest tragedies, and taught us how to raise above even the most serious setbacks."- József Sas said, who also thanked Béla Majdán - "It's good to know there are people who still value the roots of the hungarian cabaret."

He also quoted the famous words of Pál Peterdi:

"Those, who have humor, know everything. Those, who don't have, are capable of anything."

They also repeatedly mocked the politicians, saying: "What do you possible know about what problems we have?". This almost felt like the motto of the whole evening. They sang a song about the restrictions the politicians made recently, and about the rise in prices, but of course they always wrapped these social commentaries into jokes and gags.

In the end of the programme Mrs. Ferenc Juhász from Szalmatercs sang the song "On the day of red pentecost", and János Básti, an award-winning singer, sang the compositions of Ernő Kondor, while the Gipsy Band of Balassagyarmat, led by Gábor Baranyi, was playing the music.

Béla Majdán closed the show with a few words, referring to the old saying "the hungarians are going on razzle, while they are crying". But he said, comedy always represented the citizens, against the government in power. He also pointed out, that the politicians can easily depart and stand off far away from those, who they should serve. He remarked, that only Mr. Lajos Medvácz, mayor, and Mr. Ervin Borenszki, Member of the Parliament were kind enough, to participate in a cultural and charity event, where the main goal was to help out the Kertész István Foundation and the Baranyi "Rekett (this was his nickname, roughly translates to: Throaty)"  Dezső Foundation. And also they were the only two politicians, who placed girdles on the statue of Ernő Kondor.

This remark resulted in a coincident applause.

Written by: Andrea Szabó

Translated by: Majdán Béla Jr.

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