One of the most important buildings in Budapest, this opera house was designed by famous Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl. He was also the designer of the basilica and the original Parliament (now the Italian Institute). The opera house was completed in 1884 and is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. When standing outside, on the first level, you can see the muses of opera: Erato, Thalia, Melpomene, and Terpsichore. There are also statues of Franz Liszt and Hungary's father of opera, Ferenc Erkel. The second level has statues of famous composers. The lobby is adorned with Bertalan Székely's frescoes; the ceiling frescoes in the concert hall itself are by Károly Lotz. Hungarians are great opera fans and many tickets are sold as season tickets. Regardless, if you don't wait until the last minute, often you will have a wide range of seats from which to choose. The season runs from mid-September to mid-June. During the regular season, there are often matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 11am. Regular performances start at 7pm, not the customary 8pm starting time. Summer visitors, however, can take in approximately eight performances (both opera and ballet) during the Summer Operafest in July or August. Seating capacity is 1,289. The box office is open weekdays from 11am until the beginning of the performance, or to 5pm when there is no performance. Sunday from 10am to 1pm and 4pm until the beginning of the performance. Guided tours of the opera house are offered daily at 3pm and 4pm; the cost is 2,800 Ft or 1,400 Ft with international student ID.