Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Házy Erzsébet

voice - soprano

Place of Birth
Date of Birth

October 1, 1929 - November 24, 1982

She was the outstanding personality of the post WWII Hungarian opera who was a favourite of the Budapest audience. Erzsébet Házy was born in Bratislava in 1929. She finished her elementary studies in her home town, and had a native-like command of Hungarian, German, Slovak and Czech. Her family moved to Budapest through the resettlements of 1939. Here, Erzsébet Házy first attended the Maria Theresa grammar school, and later on she continued her studies at the National Music School as a piano major. At the Singing Faculty of the same institution, her teachers included Géza László, the acclaimed teacher, who introduced her to Aladár Tóth, director of the Hungarian State Opera at that time.
Erzsébet Házy became the original member of the Choir of the Hungarian Radio, and a year later she entered the State Opera with a scholarship.
In March 1952, she first performed on stage in a little role of Le Nozze di Figaro, as Susanna. A few weeks later, however, she won the audience’s heart as Oscar in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. From the 1952/53 season she had continuously sung title roles. She was on stage almost each night, and she charmed the critics and audience with her voice, gestures, playing and her beauty. In the 1950s and 60s Erzsébet Házy knew no bounds regarding the genre or style. In the comic operas of Mozart and Donizetti, important interpretations were related to her name as the performer of the heroines of Verdi and Puccini. Her legendary Puccini series started in September, 1957 with La Boheme, in which she wonderfully interpreted Mimi. Perhaps the greatest success of her career was the title role of Manon Lescault which was preemiered in December 1961, an opera which was revived nearly after 20 years. In the following year, there were more than 40, full-house Manon performances, which is almost unprecedented int he 120-year-old history of the opera. Later, Erzsébet Házy also excelled in the title role of Madama Butterfly in the mid 1960s but she was also acknowledged for her performances in Tchaikovsky’s Eugéne Onegin as well a sin Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci.
Besides the classics of the opera literature, Erzsébet Házy also proved her talent in the title roles of contemporary Hungarian operas: She performed in the premieres of the operas of Sándor Szokolay (Samson, Blood Wedding, Hamlet), András Mihály (Together and Alone), György Ránki (The tragedy of Man) as well as Emil Petrovics (Crime and Punishment). She was also entrusted to sing in other modern operas such as: Menotti: The telephone, Orff: Die Kluge, which are rather complicated both technically and musically. Besides her work at the Opera, she regularly performed in oratory performances, but she did not have an aversion to the lighter genres: she also sang the operettas and songs of Offenbach, Johann Strauss Jr., Ferenc Lehár, Pál Ábrahám and Szabolcs Fényes. The Hungarian film directors of the era engaged her with pleasure, even though she rarely fulfilled such requests. She performed the Grand Duchess in the film entitled Gerolstein kaland based on Offenbach work in 1954.
She also played a nursery school teacher who lived in a small town and dreamed about a musical career in Viktor Gertler’s film, Felfelé a lejtőn in 1958. She also performed the title role of És akkor a pasas (1966), a film also directed by Gertler. From the beginning of the 1960s parallel to the political détente, the leading artists of the Hungarian State Opera occasionally had the chance to appear as guest artists.
Besides performing in the opera houses of the neighbouring socialist countries (including the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow), Erzsébet Házy, scored a great sucess at the Vienna Staatsoper as well a sin different German Theatres. She was also offered a permanent contract, but it did not even occur to her to leave Hungary. In 1965 at the proposal of the Members of the Opera House, she was awarded with the Liszt prize, Kossuth prize, she was a Merited and Eminent Artist. In the middle of the 1970s her successful artistic career broke: she had to face severe professional and private crises. In her last years, she struggled with problems of singing technique, memory, alcoholism and depression. Her healts rapidly worsened in 1982 and she passed away on November 24th, at the age of 53. Her voice was preserved for posterity on dozens of records as well as radio and television recordings. Thousands of people bade her a fond farewell at her bier set in the foyer of the Erkel Theatre.