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Ferenc Baranyi - More truly than anything here

It was more than half a century ago that I spent some weeks in Rome with Feri Baranyi; we were both guests of the Hungarian Institute there. We had known each other from Budapest university, Feri studied there Italian, myself English, but it was there, under Italy's sky that we became real friends.

Feri was then already a poet, by that time had four volumes behind himself. And this meant really much. It was an exceptional age, the early seventies, when people in Hungary, even young people did read poetry, contemporary poetry! This sounds truly incredibly now, or did so even thirty years ago, but we who have lived our eightieth year can witness it. Then the fans of popular poets ran into the shops when a new volume of their star appeared. A poetic recital could attract almost an audience like the concert of a rock ensemble. I remember well that Feri was then among those cherished poets, who excelled with the easy "cantability" and the elegant refinement of his verses. (He also has by now translated many poems from Italian and French to Hungarian, while a number of his own poems were translated to three or four foreign languages.)

Feri Baranyi has been the best in the art of poetry throughout his creative career, testified by thirteen volumes of poems, but he felt also at home in another art, that of music. He was no composer of it, neither a performing artist, only an enthusiast, first of all an admirer of opera music. And he did his best to convey his enthusiasm to as many people as he could. His successful broadcasted programs about operatic performances and TV interviews attracted and won a crowd of the audience, and turned them opera goers. One of his most recent successes is the book "Four Centuries of Opera", in fact an opera guide, with the individual feature that it, beyond music, pays a special attention to poets, partly those poets whose works served as the basis of the action (as for instance Pushkin's poem in the opera "Oniegin"), and partly those that created the scenarios, and the lines that inspired the melodies. (István Tótfalusi)

Baranyi Ferenc