Summary The project is a cultural-historical investigation of nineteenth-century concepts of national opera and national music. It brings under close scrutiny the genre of national opera as a cultural institution and as a multimedia art form. The main goal is to define the ideas of national music and national opera in the broader context of nineteenth-century nationalistic political and philosophical discourses. Cultural and historical approaches interpret musical and literary works by means of constructing the cultural context from which they arouse. I wish to consider nineteenth-century Hungarian and Romanian operas as cultural phenomena that do not only reflect or express their own times, but are themselves also active agents in shaping their social and cultural world. National operas did not arise accidentally. They were part of the national awakening that swept across much of East-Central Europe during the nineteenth century. What was first a passion later became a mission. National awakenings gave the impetus and the ideology for institutionalizing literature and music; but there is a two way traffic within this process, since the ideology is like a chiastic rhetorical figure: on the one hand it is an inherent characteristic of the language, on the other hand it is a construction. It creates and at the same time itself is a creation. That is why it is so important to examine the language use itself when we talk about national ideologies, national literature and music.