Háry János is an opera in four acts by Zoltán Kodály to a Hungarian libretto by Béla Paulini and Zsolt Harsányi, based on the comic epic The Veteran by János Garay. First performance: Royal Hungarian Opera House, Budapest, 1926.
The story is of a veteran hussar in the Austro-Hungarian army who sits in the village inn regaling his listeners with fantastic tales of heroism: his supposed exploits include winning the heart of the Empress Marie Louise, the wife of Napoleon, and then single-handedly defeating Napoleon and his armies. From the music of the opera, Kodály extracted the orchestral Háry János Suite, one of the most popular pieces in the classical repertoire.
Both the suite and the opera begin with a 'musical sneeze', best explained in Kodály's own words: "According to Hungarian superstition, if a statement is followed by a sneeze of one of the hearers, it is regarded as confirmation of its truth. The Suite begins with a sneeze of this kind! One of Háry's group of faithful listeners … sneezes at the wildest assertions of the old tale-spinner." 
According to Kodály, Háry János is "the personification of the Hungarian story-telling imagination. He does not tell lies; he imagines stories; he is a poet. What he tells us may never have happened, but he has experienced it in spirit, so it is more real than reality." 
The movements of the Háry János Suite are: Háry János Suite: I. Prelude; the Fairy Tale Begins Háry János Suite: II. Viennese Musical Clock Háry János Suite: III. Song Háry János Suite: IV. The Battle and Defeat of Napoleon Háry János Suite: V. Intermezzo Háry János Suite: VI. Entrance of the Emperor and His Court