News News from Hungary Hard­ships are giv­en to strong peo­ple only

Hard­ships are giv­en to strong peo­ple only

Faith rein­force­ment on the board of an air­plane in dan­ger caused by a tech­ni­cal fail­ure, the pain that avoids us abroad, but intense­ly expe­ri­enced in our home­land. Lev­ente Mol­nár, Opera Singer shares his thoughts with us.


The bare­ly 38 years old world-famous Bari­tone has already per­formed almost in every opera house of the world. The audi­ence of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera House, New York, has seen him star­ring in two operas, still, his home­land has always worked as a mag­net for his heart. He wants to live here at his home­land, in the ser­vice of his fam­i­ly, his nation and his broad­er home. This time, our talks with Lev­ente Mol­nár is nei­ther about his career path, his ful­filled voca­tion, or the spot­light, nor even about the forth­com­ing per­for­mance of the opera Bánk Bán (The Viceroy Bánk), – instead we are inter­est­ed in the source of his deep faith, his fear for his home­land that warms him so vehe­ment­ly. Why does he call the Hun­gar­i­ans a “won­der nation” receiv­ing the task of organ­is­ing the Inter­na­tion­al Eucharis­tic Con­gress for good rea­son and not by a sim­ple chance? He believes that hard­ships are giv­en by God to strong peo­ple only.


Photo:Vera Éder /Coopera

- “When­ev­er I’m singing the aria “My home, My home”, some­times I go weak in my knees, since it hurts so strong­ly, and mat­ters so much. I live for these moments” – as you said in a recent inter­view. How do you feel your­self, what kind of thoughts cross your mind while singing the most famous aria of the Bánk bán

Let me explain my feel­ings, what I’m going through while prepar­ing myself, my mind pri­or to enter­ing the stage: quite frankly, I feel I’m going to pray in pub­lic. I’m going to say a prayer that has been cre­at­ed in a blessed moment, mak­ing its pre­sen­ta­tion, inter­pre­ta­tion a huge respon­si­bil­i­ty. The aria “My home, My home” is favoured not only for its sweet melody or its nice lyrics: it has reached its goal, there­fore has become a hit as well. To put it sim­ply: any­one liv­ing with­out faith, but with a Hun­gar­i­an con­scious­ness, is dri­ven clos­er to God. On the oth­er hand, the ones liv­ing with reli­gious faith, but with­out any nation­al con­scious­ness, are def­i­nite­ly going to meet the val­ues of Hun­gar­i­an­ness. I’m ready to sing “My home, My home” only if I feel the but­ter­flies in my chest. Singing means a dead­ly seri­ous mis­sion for me. I want peo­ple to be shak­en up, so that they can real­ize what a huge bur­den it is to live up to the mod­el, where God, the home­land, and fam­i­ly is of high impor­tance, and nev­er ever any of them is to be jeop­ar­dized. This melody beau­ti­ful­ly reflects the Hun­gar­i­an deter­mi­na­tion for faith, and the Hun­gar­i­an’ free choice of becom­ing a Chris­t­ian. Believ­ing in God is our invis­i­ble shield, how­ev­er this shield needs car­ing. It’s Bánk Bán who can give a help­ing hand. He uses the words God and Home con­nect­ed to each oth­er in a con­se­crat­ed and respect­ful man­ner. One with­out the oth­er…, we well know where it leads.

Faith is alike to the immune system

- Do you mean that nation­al sen­ti­ments are con­ceiv­ing through God and prayer?

Def­i­nite­ly yes, there­by mak­ing it even more solemn. We are a reli­gious nation, full of faith. Our nation is a “won­der nation.” We were the first in the world, who, in 1568 at the Par­lia­men­tary ses­sion in Tor­da, Tran­syl­va­nia – with a step far ahead of our time — issued a decree on reli­gious free­dom, there­by offi­cial­ly recog­nis­ing that any­one, upon its own free will is allowed to prac­tise reli­gion freely, regard­less to the type of reli­gious denom­i­na­tion. We can also be proud of our sport suc­cess­es, our inven­tions, but most of all of our sound tes­ti­mo­ny on faith and accep­tance. The Hun­gar­i­an­ness is liv­ing in peace with all these var­ied faiths – since the essence is all the same: love, respect, and accep­tance. In terms of being in a close rela­tion­ship with God, Tran­syl­va­nia and the Hun­gar­i­ans are the strongest ones. How many of our priests, Arch­bish­ops stood up for the jus­tice of faith and nation, rep­re­sent­ing it even at the cost of their lives, at the risk of martyrdom!

- As it was stat­ed by Arch­bish­op Áron Már­ton in Kolozsvár in 1944: “In pro­tec­tion of the truth, in ser­vice of love and per­se­cu­tion, prison is not a shame, but rather a glory”…

The sur­vival of Hun­gar­i­ans liv­ing beyond bor­ders would be unimag­in­able with­out faith. Those remain­ing in the home­land are able to stay with the help of their faith only. They believe in God. They believe that the Hun­gar­i­an nation is able to sur­vive only with God’s help. Faith is amaz­ing. Faith ensures self-con­fi­dence. Many times I’m asked: where does your self-con­fi­dence come from? I do have roots that are full of faith. That is the rea­son. Faith is alike to the immune sys­tem. It’s not enough just to learn a dialect, leg­ends, jokes, and his­to­ry, but faith should be mas­tered as well. This is what real­ly keeps one on board. This is what is immor­tal. Should our roots be well nour­ished by faith, the soul does not get ill eas­i­ly. With the help of faith we are able to solve our prob­lems in a way that puts aside our ego. Over­step­ping the dif­fi­cul­ties can be far eas­i­er with a strong faith, which also enables to min­i­mize the trou­bles. Faith is an invis­i­ble shield against evil. Faith dri­ves us towards the good, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly devel­ops us to be pret­ty good at read­ing peo­ple. Many say of not being reli­gious, but hav­ing a faith instead. Well, it’s true that try­ing to approach the truth indi­vid­u­al­ly is already a nice step for­ward. We, The Székelys are war­rior peo­ple, hav­ing made tes­ti­monies on our faith many times already, and stood up for it any­time, even with scythe and hoe, if need­ed. If some­thing works well, we let no one con­vince us on the contrary.


Pho­to: ARTSTART4YOU Egyesületek

Emer­gency in the air

- When did you first expe­ri­ence this depth of the faith you are talk­ing about so enthusiastically?

Upon birth, nor­mal­ly, and with some luck, we receive a healthy moth­er and father, a moth­er tongue, and edu­ca­tion. But there is a dif­fer­ence how one man­ages to live the week­days, how one learns the way of cel­e­brat­ing. How one is raised by the par­ents, how often is tak­en to the church ser­vices, or is talked about Jesus, God, and exis­tence, on top do the par­ents tell about faith at all? I well remem­ber my child­hood, when at the age of 4 – 5 I was look­ing for answers for an impor­tant ques­tion, I forced my mind to stay still, enabling me to lis­ten to the slight­est voice, to the qui­etest, most peace­ful inner impulse, since it always gave me the answer. Lat­er on, as the man is grow­ing up, the world is seen with a dif­fer­ent eye. It could hap­pen that not the wise and gen­tle voice is heard, result­ing in try­ing new ways that may not lead to the right direc­tion. To put it sim­ply, the right track is extreme­ly nar­row, easy to get off the rails. Indeed, we do have our slips, but these mis­takes are for us to learn from them, to devel­op our per­son­al­i­ty and to find a return to God. We are get­ting tests from God on pur­pose, to always end up with a return to him.

- Have you got such returns to God?

I have nev­er turned away, not even in thought, I have always had a sound faith. How­ev­er, I have passed over some rein­force­ments. I would men­tion here the expe­ri­ence when we were about to crash by plane. I was not yet 25, and fol­low­ing some short flights, this was my first longer, over­seas direct flight with Malév from Budapest to New York. There was no prob­lem with the take off, but right after Vien­na one of the engines stopped. The plane start­ed fly­ing unsta­ble, the on-board lug­gage stores opened, every­body was pan­ick­ing. I took out the Csik­som­lyó Vir­gin Mother’s pic­ture from my wal­let, and imme­di­ate­ly felt calm, more pre­cise­ly the accep­tance of the sit­u­a­tion I was gift­ed by the Vir­gin Mary. Since we were still fly­ing with full tanks – our cap­tain kept us updat­ed all along – Vien­na did not give us the land­ing per­mit, thus we returned towards Hun­gary. It took about an hour to land. The pilot released the fuel in order to avoid an explo­sion just in case we might crash into the ground. Final­ly he man­aged a smooth land­ing. It was a pret­ty trau­mat­ic expe­ri­ence, topped with the fact that fol­low­ing the land­ing we were not allowed to leave the plane for about two more hours, while the full check­ing up was going on.

- I think upon return your first trip led you to Csíksomlyó…

I have always attend­ed the Csík­som­lyó Pil­grim­age. Being away from it has always been out of ques­tion. I need to be there at the Vir­gin Mary of Csík­som­lyó. I do have every rea­son to be grate­ful to Her.


Pho­to: Bence Hegedus/4K Media Studio

Here at home every­thing is important

- What has the Pontiff’s Csík­som­lyó vis­it meant to the Széke­ly people?

For over two thou­sand years this was the first ever vis­it of a Pope to Tran­syl­va­nia, and most like­ly no papal trip would occur for anoth­er cou­ple of hun­dred years. Pope Fran­cis’ vis­it has been of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance, since he is well aware of the fact that we are the ulti­mate east­ern bas­tion of the Catholic Church. A well-ground­ed rea­son for being the strongest as well. Once at the bor­der defen­sive line, nowa­days like­ly the same way, the Székelys are stand­ing at the front line in pro­tec­tion of the faith. What a huge respon­si­bil­i­ty on our shoul­ders! Thus, for such a sig­nif­i­cant nation as the Hun­gar­i­ans are, a real steadi­ness must be pre­sent­ed at all times.

- Shall we take it as a moral oblig­a­tion for the Eucharis­tic Con­gress as well?

Well, it’s real­ly some­thing that Budapest has been appoint­ed to host the World Con­gress. Indeed, the best has to be made of it, fur­ther on tes­ti­mo­ny should be giv­en on our faith to the world. We have to show our pres­ence both by faith and spir­it here in the Carpathi­an Basin. This will also prove the world what a fan­tas­tic nation we are, and our soul is far broad­er than the Carpathi­an Basin itself is, and is not linked to any geo­graph­i­cal ter­ri­to­ry. Cur­rent­ly we are going through hard times, but can­not ignore that hard­ships are giv­en to strong peo­ple only.

- How has your life been going on since last spring?

I’m work­ing, and in line with my tal­ent I do all my best to help the local cul­tur­al life. Togeth­er with my part­ner, Vik­tória Mester we have record­ed sev­er­al videos, and in the one, titled “Prayer – God save the Hun­gar­i­an”, even our lit­tle daugh­ter, Aina is singing. We had a song on Covid as well, a fun­ny one that has been loved by many and viewed on Face­book by more than a mil­lion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly my Face­book account has been delet­ed, I still won­der why, but haven’t got any rea­son­ing so far. Nev­er­the­less, both videos can be viewed on YouTube.

Togeth­er with the ArtStart4U Asso­ci­a­tions – the Art Core Val­ue and the Class Val­ue Asso­ci­a­tions – upon receipt of gov­ern­ment sup­port from Hungary‑, it’s over 6 years by now that we year­ly organ­ise a 10 day free Mas­ter Course in August. The course venue is Tran­syl­va­nia, and is avail­able for a mere hun­dred high school stu­dents, with board and lodg­ing, includ­ing flute, vio­lin, piano, cel­lo, clar­inet and singing class­es. We man­aged to organ­ise the course last sum­mer as well, unfor­tu­nate­ly with­out Hun­gar­i­an instruc­tors, but with local mas­ters from reput­ed Tran­syl­van­ian universities.

A fur­ther new project that we could also launch with a moth­er­land sup­port, is the Hun­gar­i­an singing lessons. At the Patri­um Chris­t­ian Uni­ver­si­ty of Nagyvárad (Oradea), a singing fac­ul­ty has been set up last Sep­tem­ber with a pos­si­bil­i­ty for 10 schol­ar­ships, the lessons of which are held in Hun­gar­i­an lan­guage. Hence the best equipped singing fac­ul­ty of the Carpathi­an-basin has start­ed its oper­a­tion. Our stu­dents are real­ly tal­ent­ed, hav­ing achieved remark­able suc­cess­es already in their first semes­ter exam.

Togeth­er with the Co-Opera, we organ­ised the “Schu­ber­tiá­da online – Songs, quin­tettes, poems, pros­es in memo­ri­am Franz Schu­bert” musi­cal and lit­er­ary evening on the 19th Decem­ber 2020 that was broad­cast­ed from Póc­sm­egy­er (Hun­gary). This loca­tion has been pur­pose­ly cho­sen to com­mem­o­rate the only site in Hun­gary, where Franz Schu­bert, upon the invi­ta­tion of the Ester­házy fam­i­ly, resided in per­son in 1818 and left the place with nice memories.

A new opera and a film are on their way as well. I do have sound ambi­tion and ideas on what kind of opus­es, dra­mas would be the best to make the world be more famil­iar with the Carpathian-basin.


Pho­to: Vera Éder /Coopera

- Shall we say that you have found your place and duty even in dif­fi­cult circumstances?

It is real­ly inter­est­ing what this unprece­dent­ed sit­u­a­tion has got out of me. I have start­ed to look for its pos­i­tiv­i­ty. I dis­cov­ered again God’s inter­ven­tion. It was about two-three years ago when I decid­ed, and I real­ly took it seri­ous­ly, to work in the Carpathi­an Basin. I want­ed to return home as soon as pos­si­ble, and accept per­form­ing engage­ments abroad up to once or twice a year. Pre­vi­ous­ly it was the oth­er way round. Then the pan­dem­ic inter­fered. All my con­tracts have been ter­mi­nat­ed, forc­ing me to start my activ­i­ties at my home­land. To tell the truth I do enjoy it. I feel at home in the Co-Opera com­pa­ny. The hard job we are doing is well proved by the Bánk Bán per­for­mance that has raised the inter­est of Ger­many and Verona as well. This role is extreme­ly impor­tant for me. I put in all my body and soul.

- Besides your fam­i­ly and your mis­sion aware­ness, what else has called you home so strongly?

When stay­ing abroad, what­ev­er hap­pens around me, noth­ing hurts, and there is no pain, since noth­ing is ours. It’s bet­ter to be at home because here every­thing hurts. Here we are sad if some­thing goes wrong, we fight for mak­ing things bet­ter or to devel­op our home­land, since it is ours. Because this is a mat­ter of the nation. It is a mat­ter of faith. At home every­thing mat­ters. And every loss, every dis­ap­point­ment is painful. From this bit­ter­sweet pain derives all the beau­ty and good for the next generation.

Hope­ful­ly faith and sci­ence, hand in hand will lead the world out of the trou­bles, and our life will be led again by per­son­al meet­ings. In order to achieve this (as well), it is impor­tant and nec­es­sary to lis­ten to that very and soft inner voice. Let’s pay atten­tion to this voice, since help arrives from that direction.

Writ­ten by: Gabriel­la Varga

Pho­to: 4K Media Stu­dio, Co-Opera, ARTSTART4U Associations