Due to great demand by the public to see Plácido Domingo perform at the Budapest Opera House, the Shakespeare Ball is transformed into a Shakespeare Gala, which gives the opportunity to more than 1236 people to hear the Spanish star tenor perform.
The Shakespeare Gala is a spectacular expansion to the original programme of the ball, but this year the auditorium is not transfomed into a ball room. Plácido Domingo is to sing on the stage of the Opera House, which ensures that the audience can enjoy his performance in greater numbers and in greater comfort. Nevertheless, many aspects of the originally advertised ball that last until dawn are also kept. The most beautiful spaces such as the Opera Café, the Red Parlour, the Székely Bertalan Hall, and the Dalszínház Street Terrace are open to the public all night. The Andrássy Street Grand Terrace and the recently refurbished Feszty Bar are also open with service and dancefloor. The decision made by the Hungarian State Opera gives the chance to opera fans who wish to witness the first performance of Plácido Domingo on the stage of the Opera House.
Guest can enjoy the evening in the specially decorated Opera House, enter the building on a red carpet lined by beautiful plants. The atmosphere is enhanced by torches burning on the terraces. The decorations of the foyer evoke the age of Shakespeare, the ushers dressed in period costumes assist the audience while Renaissance music is played on the grand staircase.
The gala programme features artists of the Hungarian National Ballet with soloists Kristina Starostina and Bence Apáti as well as leading singers of the Opera: Erika Gál, Polina Pasztircsák, Szilvia Rálik, Orsolya Sáfár, Zita Szemere, András Palerdi, Csaba Szegedi, the Hungarian State Opera Chorus. The Hungarian State Opera Orchestra is conducted by principal music director Péter Halász. In the first part of the programme Plácido Domingo sings Verdi arias, in the second part he presents a "personal" gift to the Hungarian audience, and sings Zarzuela Arias.