HUNGARIAN STAR INTERPRETS U.S. ROCK FESTIVAL

Stephen LeonSpecial to The Times Union
Section: SHOW,  Page: H1

Date: Sunday, March 16, 1986

When Hungarian rock star Gabor Presser first began writing a score for the musical "An Imaginary Report on an American RockFestival" in 1971, rock 'n' roll was still a second-class artform in his native country.


The musical - an American adaptation of which opened Saturdayevening at the Egg and will run through March 22 - changed that when it was first performed in Hungary in 1973. "Before theshow, rock music wasn't integrated into the arts," Presser said in an interview last week after arriving in Albany to assist Louis St. Louis, the show's musical director. (The music will be performed by an eight-piece band consisting of local and New York musicians.) "You know, they said "OK, this is rock music, that's alright with the youth ... "And there were people fighting against rock music and they said that we are dirty, you know, the long hair and everything.And there were teachers who didn't let people wearing long hair and jeans into school. But after (the show), a lot of othertheaters tried to do some rock music because it was very popular you know? And then it was really a very big business for the theater. And then came the film people, and we (Presser's band, L.G.T.) composed the music for 75 percent of the Hungarian films. And there were no films without a gig, you know? Somehow, the main actor had to go to a rock gig - because then thepeople would come."


"An Imaginary Report on an American Rock Festival" was adapted from a short novel by Hungarian writer Tibor Dery, who used the famous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, Calif., as a basis for a story about two Hungarian refugees lost and adrift in a strange country. When Presser first was approached to write the score, he turned it down - "because I said it's against rock music, it's against youth. And after I realized that the whole thing is not about rock music, it's about the Hungarians