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Soloists Eliška Weissová and Titusz Tóbisz on Tristan and Isolde

On Friday - 24 June, the State Theatre Opera will present one of Richard Wagner’s most staged opera TRISTAN AND ISOLDE. The opera will be conducted by chief conductor Peter Valentovič in the historical building of the State Theatre Košice. The opera is considered a top in opera art. Leading roles will be interpreted by guest Czech soprano Eliška Weissová and local tenor Titusz Tóbisz.

Five years ago, here in Košice, Titusz Tóbisz had a chance to sing Wagner for the first time. He sang Wagner’s early and less known opera The Fairies. Tristan and Isolde is considered Wagner’s masterpiece, placing high demands on the main character. Titusz Tóbisz will sing the major part of Act 2, a great duet of Tristan and Isolde. The way he sees the character and the way he got to great Wagner Titusz says: “The first time I did Wagner was five years ago. I did The Fairies. Beautiful, fascinating, and very interesting work. Wagner’s early piece was, literally, a great experience to me. Tristan and Isolde is totally different though some melodies or lyrics could be found already in the Fairies. As if it was a part of Wagner’s overall life. Once again, I dug into it and started to study details of Wagner’s life to understand him better. I read musical analysis of Tristan and Isolde. It offers kind of key to the whole opera. It is very interesting and fascinating, a true music meditation dissolving in Universe, just as Wagner originally intended. Definitely. It is incredible how difficult it is to listen to it and even more difficult to learn to sing it. No surprise Tristan and Isolde gain the title of the most difficult opera for singers, orchestra, and audience as well. But it is very interesting and I am so looking forward to it.“ As part of preparations, Titusz Tóbisz, Peter Valentovič (chief conductor) and Stanislav Trnovský (dramaturge) went to see this Wagner’s opera in Vienna State Opera. “It was a fantastic opportunity to see this opera, starring Andreas Schager, today one of the best Tristans in the world. A huge inspiration to me. Probably, it left an indelible impression on me and I think this is the biggest challenge in my life so far. Not only in terms of singing. To tackle a five hours opera and learn it (though our premiere will only contain selected scenes) is currently my ultimate goal.“ says Titusz Tóbisz.

Eliška Weissová interpreted, with great success, Isolde’s Love Death less than year ago at an open-air concert Úcta hrdinom at the Main Square in Košice. Audience was then enthusiastic about Wagner’s music. In the meantime, though limited by pandemic measures, she had the opportunity to sing the whole character on stage. Recently, she did Kostelníčka in Jenůfa in Cardiff in the Wales National Opera and Libuša at ND Litomyšl. How is it like to get back to Isolde, what the role demands? “So, getting back to Isolde is always a great pleasure. Wagner’s music is very close to me and I like to sing it. In the State Theatre Košice, I can sing almost all the character (I added two more parts which were omitted at Ústí nad Labem). Particularly, I look forward to Isolde’s monologue in Act I. I will sing the whole part for the first time. Isolde is very demanding role, psychologically, it requires good condition, and especially interpretation is difficult. Each act requires absolute focus, always different demands. The first act is highly dramatic, the second brings beautiful love duet of Tristan and Isolde and so voice needs to be softer and rather lyrical ..., and the third is climax of the whole opera, Isolde’s final death. It contains all.“