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ponedjeljak, 19. rujna 2016.

Budapest State Opera To Stage Croatian Opera About Common 16th Century Hero Miklós Zrínyi/Nikola Zrinski

These 2 very recent bits of news I found interesting enough to throw in here, the 3rd part is a repost from earlier this year revolving around the same basic theme and topics...

The Zrínyi opera will be performed by the Croatian National Theatre of Osijek (in Hungarian aka Eszék) at the seen above Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest.


The Budapest State Opera will present the 19th-century Croatian composer Ivan Zajc’s opera Nikola Šubić Zrinski (Miklós Zrínyi) on September 18, the Director Szilveszter Ókovács said. The opera tells the story of common Hungarian-Croatian nobleman Miklós Zrínyi and the battle of Szigetvár in which he and his heavily outnumbered troops tried to contain and stop the advancing Ottoman jihad forces and their Serb allies commanded by Sultan Suleiman I, the Magnificent, in 1566.

A performance at the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek.

The Budapest Opera will show the piece as part of the Hungarian state’s "Zrínyi-Szigetvár 1566 Memorial Year" commemorating the 450th anniversary of the event. It will be performed by the Croatian National Theatre of Osijek (Eszék), Ókovács said. Gordan Grlić Radman, the Croatian ambassador, described the three-act piece as his country’s most outstanding opera and Zrínyi the symbol of loyalty, courage and the love of homeland and freedom. The chief patrons of the performance are Hungarian President János Áder and his Croatian counterpart President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

A scene from the climactic grand finale during a performance of the same play at the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka.

This production of the opera Nikola Šubić Zrinjski directed by Nina Kleflin premiered in November 2012. However, the very first world premiere of the opera took place in Zagreb on the 4th of November 1876. It was well received by audiences and critics alike. Zajc's work mixes then current European operatic conventions and styles with his own knowledge of Croat melody, which resulted in a sound that was deemed superior to even many Italian romantic operas of the time, for this reason Zajc is often called the Croatian Verdi. It is dominated by harmonious melodies, and the musical expressions of the two opposing cultures: the progressive enlightened Renaissance world of Central Europe against the advancing jihads of the Muslim Ottoman Empire from the Levant and Sanjak of Smederevo. Its enduring fame is due in large part to its climactic chorus, "U boj, u boj!" ("To battle, to battle!"). This excerpt was actually composed ten years prior to the rest of the opera, and was presented as a choral work. It can often be heard at gala performances and celebrations as a mantra to never give in or give up.

On 18 September, 2016 the most significant historical piece of Croatian music, the three-act opera by Ivan pl. Zajc entitled Nikola Šubić Zrinjski (Zrínyi Miklós) was presented at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest. Hungarian audiences can see this Croatian national opera in the production of the Croatian National Theatre of Osijek featuring nearly 250 guest artists.







The famous Battle of Siget performed by the Hungarian pop-rock outfit lifted the crowd to their feet in Osijek

 As part of the Hungarian week festivities in Osijek, Croatia, a modern rock opera musical by an Hungarian outfit performed a play based on the 16th century Croatian Ban/Viceroy Nikola Šubić Zrinski and the famous Battle of Siget in 1566.


The 16th century Croatian Ban (pronounced like the word Ban in autobahn and meaning Viceroy/Governor) Nikola Šubić Zrinski and the historical Siege of Szigetvár (Croatian: Bitka kod Sigeta) is a battle that is still an inexhaustible source of inspiration for many artists today, even after 450 years. And not only Croatian artists, but also among Hungarian artists as well. Proof of that is the modern rock-musical "Zrinyi 1566", which Friday night performed the Siget battles through a modern music outfit, and the Osijek audience rose to their feet in the City Garden Hall (Gradski Vrt) after the performance.

The play was performed as part of the Hungarian week festivities, and organized by the Consulate General of Hungary in the city of Osijek. The artistic ensemble, which produces a large number of artists, singers, actors and dancers, were led by Sándor Sasvári, a famous Hungarian artist, who in his rich career has played in famous musicals such as "Les Miserables", "Evita" and "Phantom of the Opera" among others.

And this is why Sasvári was the holder of the title role, convincingly portraying Croatian Ban Zrinski and acting with his powerful voice thrilling the audience, after the rock opera performance they were greeted by long and loud applause. Two encores followed, in which the Hungarian artists performed the main song performances again.

"I am very pleased that we were able to perform this play precisely in the city of Osijek, especially where I personally was able to portray the role Nikola Šubić Zrinski" he said.. "It is a demanding role, because it is known that Zrinski and his comrades fought for 37 days and finally gave their lives for their country and freedoms, the play is characterized by an excellent director, quality music and top performers. This was our first, but hopefully not the last time hosting this performance in Croatia. It is my desire that this musical will also be performed in the town of Čakovec, at the very 13th century castle of Nikola Šubić Zrinski." - said Sasvári before the show.

It was a dynamic directorial performance, especially in the content, performance and musical terms. Attractive scenes followed one after another, as well as pop ballads with powerful rock songs throughout, creating a harmonious whole. And not a moment was boring, even though the show lasted three hours. There was intrigue, love (man for the woman and woman for the man, but first and foremost the homeland and freedom in this instance), the whole range of emotions, from joy to sadness to honour, pride and joy again. In short, it was an ode to the courage and heroism in the best manner of an authentic and epic European musical.

And as the Viennese musical experts ably talk music story of Mozart, yet Moravetz Levente, author of the libretto and director, and authors of music Balasy Szabolcs, Krisztián Horváth and Zoltán Papp revived the Battle os Siget into an interesting modern music outfit.

Simple but effective set design, attractive costumes, excellent direction, especially the final scene of heroic battles and the heroic death of Zrinski and all the defenders of Siget fortress, was dominated by skilled ballet dancers who floated as crows, the messengers of death. They and the other performers were great, especially the title roles, as well as Slaven Vidakovic, who is an actor and director of the Croat Theatre of Pécs in Hungary, and led the Zrinski Guard from Čakovec during the play. It was a performance to remember, confirming that an important historical event can be interpreted in an interesting and attractive way in the modern age, and still lose none of its heart and soul or historical importance.

*below is a related repost originally published February 2016.

Hungarian Coins Honour Hungarian & Croatian Noble Miklós Zrínyi/Nikola Zrinski

This article I came across just by chance, and it came out already in 2014, but it's still interesting enough to throw in here even if I don't collect coins. That being mainly for the less well known Croatian connection to the topic and something that many readers may not have known.

That being that this famous Hungarian 17th century noble was also a member of the famous and historically important House of Zrinski, as well as brother to the famous Croatian Ban (a Viceroy/Governor title and pronounced like the word "Bahn") Petar Zrinski. And both of them were great-grandsons of the famous Croatian Ban and military leader Nikola Šubić Zrinski who likewise became renown and a hero all across Europe in 1556 after the Siege of Szigetvár. An epic defensive battle that was proclaimed by many leaders and writers in Europe as "the battle that saved civilization." The battle stopped the advancing jihads of the Ottomans along with many of their Serb allies and supporters from Dar Al Jihad, their ultimate goal being to conquer Vienna and beyond.

However, Nikola Zrinski himself also never forgot to consider himself and remind that he was a Croat, in 1659 he wrote in a letter to his friend and noble Ivan Ručić in Zagreb, who was the Deputy Prefect, a famous sentence in Latin: "Ego mihi conscius aliter sum, etenim non degenerem me Croatam et quidem Zrinium esse scio", which translates as: "Otherwise, I am aware and indeed I know, and I will not deny that I am a Croat, and that a Zrinski."

The Battle of Szigetvár and its legacy is still famous in Croatia and Hungary even today and inspired both the Hungarian epic poem "The Siege of Sziget" (discussed below) and the Croatian "Nikola Šubić Zrinski opera." For the period in history marked by the Ottoman wars in Europe, they are considered national heroes in both Croatia and Hungary. Anyway, definitely interesting if you are of Croatian descent and didn't know any of this before, you can hit the links to find out more...

(If the various names and surnames confuse you, you may want to check out for related interesting stuff which helps explain Croatian surname suffixes, including even the surname Zrinski. I also found out by chance that to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the Siege of Sziget, Hungarian and Croatian filmmakers are currently cooperating in producing a documentary about the famous battle, which is set to be released at the end of this year, that should be pretty interesting. More info at

Miklós Zrínyi as author, military leader and Ban of Croatia, known in Croatia as Nikola Zrinski (Nikola VII. Zrinski) he was a great-grandson of the famous Croatian Ban, military leader and noble Nikola Šubić Zrinski.


The National Bank of Hungary have issued two new coins which honor one of their country’s most celebrated leaders who has achieved admiration as a military and political leader as well as being recognized for his contributions to Military strategy, Hungarian literature and poetry. On the observance of the 350th year of the death of Miklós Zrínyi (Croatian: Nikola Zrinski, 1620 – 1664) the National Bank has issued two coins on which pay tribute to a true Hungarian patriot of the 17th century.

Born in Čakovec (Present-day Croatia) in the Kingdom of Hungary-Croatia to Croatian Ban/Viceroy, warrior and noble Jury V Zrinski, (this at a time after the medieval Kingdom of Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in the 12th century), and his Hungarian wife Magdolna (Magdalena) Széchy, the Zrinyi’s were a Croatian-Hungarian noble family. From Zrinyi’s earliest years of his education he was an enthusiastic student of the Hungarian language and literature. From 1635 to 1637, he accompanied a canon of Esztergom, a city in Northern Hungary on a long educative tour through the Italian Peninsula. Over the next few years, he learned the art of war in defending the Croatian frontier against the Ottoman Empire, and proved himself one of the most important commanders of the age.

In 1645, during the closing stages of the Thirty Years’ War, he acted against Swedish troops in Moravia and equipped the army corps at his own expense. At Eger in northern Hungary, he saved the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, who had been surprised at night in his camp by the offensive of Carl Gustaf Wrangel, a high-ranking Swedish noble and military commander. Aside from his military prowess, Zrinyi is also remembered as the author of the first epic poem in Hungarian literature. His most significant literary work regarding the Siege of Szigetvár, “Szigeti veszedelem” (The Peril of Sziget) or “Zrínyiász”, an epic poem written in the Göcsej dialect of Hungarian, was written in the winter of 1648-1649, and was published, under the title of “Adriai tengernek Syrenája” (The Siren of the Adriatic Sea) in Vienna in 1651.

With roots dating to 1546 some members of the Croatian historical military unit "Zrinski Guard Čakovec." The Zrinksi Guard of Čakovec has had hundreds of performances in Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, France, Italy and other places. The uniforms are based on actual real uniforms, historical documents and pictures from the 16th to late 17th century, the black and red coloured uniforms harken back to the Zrinski officers and soldiers. (Above seen during a ceremony in his hometown of Čakovec. In the back can be seen the town's Nikola Zrinski monument in Zrinski Park)

The epic poem was immediately translated into Croatian and published within a year by Miklós's brother, Petar Zrinski (Hungarian: Zrínyi Péter) who, while Miklós was a master of Hungarian, Peter excelled in the Croatian language and it's dialects and wrote poems also. However both Nikola and Petar Zrinski were fluently bilingual in Hungarian and Croatian, and knowing also Venetian Italian, German, Latin and more.

Image of the Serb Ottoman Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha (Serbian: Мехмед-паша Соколовић) ghoul who was the de facto ruler of the Islamic Ottoman empire armies and their Serb allies. It's not generally known that for the many Croatian nobles and generals, including the Zrinski's, this man and the forces under his command were the epitome of evil and terror. He was the catalyst and architect of numerous jihads against the Croatian lands and other parts of Habsburg Europe, from Dar al-Jihad organizing Islamic conquests into many parts of Europe as a part of their battle of civilizations, a monarch of the westward attacking ghoul armies. (For centuries Serb princes even wed off their own daughters to Ottoman Sultans and military/political leaders with the sole aim of just preserving any remaining personal landowning rights and privileges, and they even helped by assembling Serb volunteers for the Ottoman armies. Because of this the Serbs are the only nation in all of Europe that openly conspired with and assisted the Muslim jihads towards free Europe). By assisting and conspiring with the Ottoman empire, he and numerous other lesser Serb nobles and co-conspirators along with their Serb volunteer soldiers are directly responsible for expediting the Muslim terror and incursions into and towards Europe, for centuries waging wars against western civilization and Europe from their base Sanjak of Smederevo.

Contemporary drawing by famous German engraver Jacob von Sandrart showing Nikola Zrinski as Ban of Croatia. Portrayed defending against the Ottoman forces and Serbs from Dar Al Jihad as commander-in-chief of the Croatian-Hungarian Habsburg army in 1664. 

Contemporary drawing commemorating yet another very historical event and one of the most consequential battles in Central European history, known as "The Burning of the Suleiman Bridge". Seen as a great danger to the civilization and control of the continent as well as a threat to freedom of all Central Europe, the bridge was attacked several times, but in 1664 along with over 23,000 mounted cavalry it was finally successfuly set on fire on the specific orders of Nikola Zrinski as leader of the Croatian and Hungarian Habsburg forces and Petar Zrinski as the Ban/Viceroy of Croatia (both seen pictured). The bridge over the Drava river in the north east corner of Croatia near the Hungarian border had a very important role during the centuries of Croatian-Ottoman, Hungarian-Ottoman and overall Habsburg-Ottoman wars. The bridge was planned by the Ottoman empire to be the major link to furthering their westward campaigns to take the nearest strategic Croatian city of Osijek as well as to advance across Hungarian territory towards Vienna, for this reason also using concripted Moorish soldiers and former slave Bashi-Bazouks from Africa also (The Serbian born Ottoman Grand Vizier Sarı Süleyman Pasha and his armies attempted to attack the strategic city of Osijek again and rebuild the bridge in 1687, however the Ottomans were finally crushed at the Second Battle of Mohács a little later that year and he retreated back to his base in Belgrade and then Istanbul where he was executed). The defeat of the Ottoman forces and destruction of the bridge was hailed all across Europe and the Zrinskis were again heroes and saviours of European civilization.

Since already on the topic, here's the cover of the poem book by the Ban (Viceroy/Prince & Governor) of Croatia Petar Zrinski who as mentioned was the brother of Nikola Zrinski. Published in 1660 and as readable and understandable today as 4 centuries ago. The title meaning "Siren of the Adriatic Sea" is read and pronounced exactly the same as it is today. "Adrianskoga Mora Sirena: Groff Zrinski Petar" (A modern day 3rd grader could read it without any issues btw, even much easier than reading the original The Canterbury Tales or any other Geoffrey Chaucer works or Skakespeare English in today's modern English). After Nikola Zrinski wrote the epic poem "The Peril of Sziget" or “Zrínyiász” in the Göcsej dialect of Hungarian and based it on the heroic deeds of their great grandfather Nikola Šubić Zrinski, soon after Petar Zrinski tranlated it into his dialect of Croatian in 1660 and published it as "Siren of the Adriatic Sea". (Adrianskoga mora sirena)

Here's an interesting map related to the topic also, a map of the Croatian lands dedicated to Petar Zrinski, who was the Ban (pronounced like the word "Bahn" meaning Viceroy/Prince & Governor) of Croatia during the 17th century and brother to Nikola Zrinski. The map was created at the workshop of Joannes Blaeu in Amsterdam as an addition to the work by Croatian historian Ivan Lučić, (Latin: Johannes Lucius) "De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae libri sex", Amsterdam, 1666. (On the Kingdom of Dalmatia and Croatia in six books) Blaeu had included the map in Atlas Maior in 1667, and dedicated it to Petar Zrinski. At the bottom of the map in the middle it reads..."To the most illustrious and noble Lord, Prince Peter of Zrin, the Ban of the united Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia, (Triune Kingdom) hereditary Ban of the Littoral, hereditary captain of the Legrad fortress and Medimurje peninsula, master and hereditary Prince of Lika, Odorje, Krbava, Omis, Klis, Skradin, Ostrovica, Bribir etc.., Master of Kostajnica and the sliver mine at Gvozdansko, councillor and chamberlain to his anointed imperial majesty, master Ioannes Blaeu dedicates this map". The map highlights the Croatian lands including its regional divisions during the time of Peter Zrinski. Image:

In addition to his poetic works, Zrínyi is also a forerunner of Croatian and Hungarian political thinking and military science. In his essays and manifestos, such as “Mátyás király életéről való elmélkedések” (Reflections on the life of King Matthias) he makes a case for a standing army, a moral renewal of the nation, the re-establishment of the national kingdom and the unification of Royal Hungary with Transylvania. Zrinyi died on the 18th November 1664 in Zrínyifalva (Gornji Kuršanec), in present-day Croatia.

(Interestingly as a sidenote, as Zrinski's name became famous and praised throughout Europe after his actions against the Ottomans, it was said that "only the Zrinski's had the secret of conquering the Ottoman Muslims". At the coronation of Ferdinand IV of Austria, King of the Germans, King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, he carried the sword of state, and was made Ban (Viceroy) and Captain-General of Croatia, in this double capacity he presided over many Croatian Parliament Diets. Holy Roman Emperor Leopold offered him the title of Prince, while Pope Alexander VII struck a commemorative medal with the effigy of Zrinski as a field marshal, the Spanish King Philip IV sent him the Order of the Golden Fleece, and the mentioned French King Louis XIV sent a gift of 10,000 thalers and even created him a Peer)

Much like the other Croatian noble lineages with roots originating from the Croatian Kingdom in the Middle Ages, such as the Houses of Frankopan, Hrvatinić, Kačić, Lacković, Kurjaković, Karlović, Gusić et al, the Zrinski noble family history is a branch which descends from the medieval House of Šubić from Bribir. (one of the twelve high princely tribes which constituted Croatian statehood in the early Middle Ages and encompassed today's Šibenik-Knin county, the most well known and outstanding member being the proclaimed "Ban of the Croats" (Latin: Banus Croatorum) as well as the "Lord of all the Bosnia" (Latin: totius Bosniae dominus), Prince and military leader Paul I Šubić of Bribir in 1293). And as the Zrinski family history coincides with the later centuries of Croatian-Hungarian and Habsburg political unions, through intermarriages they were also connected with the above mentioned nobles as well as Hungarian, Bohemian Czech, Polish Piast dynasty, Austrian, Venetan and other Central European dynasties and noble families.

Members of the House of Zrinski are also found on Croatian currency banknotes, coins as well as stamps. Above are House of Zrinski members featured on Hungarian and Croatian stamps. The 2nd Croatian stamp at bottom row features Nikola Zrinjski. Below the Croatian stamp collection from 1996. (More info at

The coins, struck by the Mint of Hungary in Budapest, were designed by László Hunyadi, a sculptor living in Marosvásárhely (present-day Târgu Mureş). The obverse of the coin features a bust of Zrínyi as a grown man and inspired by an earlier sketching of him with the denomination below the primary design. The reverse depicts his place of birth, the castle of Csáktornya, (ie: Čakovec Croatia) along with Zrínyi’s motto in Latin “SORS BONA, NIHIL ALIUD” (GOOD LUCK, NOTHING ELSE)

*Update April 13, 2016

Original Nikola Šubić Zrinski Helmet & Sabre To Be Put On Display In Croatia For First Time Since 1577 

I came across some interesting related news and images also worth throwing in here. As mentioned previously, Nikola Zrinski/Miklós Zríny was the great-grandson of the famous Croatian Ban, important military leader and noble Nikola Šubić Zrinski, (pronounced like the word bahn and meaning Viceroy/Governor), who likewise became renown and a hero all across Europe in 1556 after the famous and pivotal Siege of Szigetvár.

So to help celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Siege of Sziget, the permanent collection at the Vienna Museum of Art History in Austria is donating the actual helmet and sword that was worn and belonged to Nikola Šubić Zrinski. The helmet, sword and his jacket were stored for safe keeping in Vienna since 1577 by Archduke of Tyrol, Ferdinand II, who was a collector in the second half of the 16th century and made an impressive collection of historical weapons and armour in his castle. The items will be loaned to the Museum of Zrinski Palace/Čakovec Museum of Medjimurje in Čakovec Croatia. (but not the jacket which is too delicate for restoration and in risk of more damage if moved) The helmet and sword have been rarely seen in person by the general public and it will be the first time that they will travel back to Croatia to be exhibited at the Čakovec Museum.

The items will also be highlighted and discussed in a documentary by HRT about the famous, epic and pivotal for Croatian and European history defensive battle, which is currently being filmed and will be aired later this year. (trailer below). Below are some very rare views of the sword and helmet belonging to Nikola Šubić Zrinski.

More information: (video)

Click onto images for larger view.

Matthias Pfaffenbichler who is in charge of the arms and armour collections at the Austrian Museum in Vienna and screenwriter and director at Croatian HRT television Vladimir Brnardić with Zrinki's helmet and sword.

Trailer for the documentary by Croatian HRT television about the famous, epic and pivotal for Croatian and European history defensive battle. (It's interesting that at the hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations and submitted to the Senate on July 10, 1919, both Polish King John Sobieski and Nikola Šubić Zrinski are mentioned as saviours of Europe and western civilization because they "...rescued them from a strangle-hold, namely, Nikola Zrinski and John Sobieski, one a Croatian and the other a Pole.")

Poster from the announcement of the Zagreb premiere and very first performance of Zajc's "Nikola Šubić Zrinjski" opera in 1876.

Updated photogallery/video:

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