Two years after the Semmelweis Memorial Year and the premiere of the contemporary opera Semmelweis, the famous doctor was once again in the focus of the Budapest Operetta Theatre; his work and teaching on the importance of hand washing has become relevant again.

“We make life more beautiful with art. They risk their lives to save the lives of others.”, says the Budapest Operetta Theatre in a video posted in social media.

The protagonists in the fight against the coronavirus are rarely seen on stage, however, their work and commitment is more important nowadays than ever. To recognise their efforts, the theatre dedicates the week of 11th-17th May 2020 to Ignác Semmelweis, who over 150 years ago discovered one of the most efficient ways of combatting infections: hand washing. His work has gained increasing attention during the coronavirus epidemic and Ignác Semmelweis has become the focus of interest again two years after the 200th anniversary of his birth; in March, he was commemorated by Google on its main page, the world’s leading papers wrote about him and the Wikipedia article on his life has become one of the most read articles in the world.

The Budapest Operetta Theatre presented the opera entitled Semmelweis written by Raymond J. Lustig and Matthew Doherty in 2018 as part of the Semmelweis Memorial Year. During the thematic week excerpts from this play have been posted on the Facebook page of the Budapest Operetta Theatre: Szilveszter P. Szabó as Semmelweis sang three movements from the opera and the song about mothers and their children sung by Tünde Frankó has also been shown. The artistic performances were accompanied by the thoughts and reminiscences of the leaders of Semmelweis University.

Dr. Béla Merkely, the Rector of the university, spoke about the significance of Ignác Semmelweis, a former professor of the institution, in the light of the current epidemiological situation.

Dr. Miklós Kellermayer, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine mentioned the impact of the renowned Hungarian doctor on the renewed medical curriculum that was introduced in the anniversary year of Semmelweis University celebrating its foundation 250 years ago.

Dr. László Rosivall, professor and President of the Semmelweis Memorial Committee talked about his views and revolutionary innovations.

Ádám Szabó
Featured image and videos: Budapest Operetta Theatre
Translation: Ágnes Raubinek