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Old Tīss, the Werewolf: historical event-inspired concert story to premiere in Cēsis Concert Hall

On Saturday, the 27th of January, the Cēsis Concert Hall will open their celebratory 10th year with a premiere of a concert story from the Latvian Radio Choir that was inspired by true historical events. This year marks exactly 333 years since a Cēsis area court hearing where one of the witnesses, the eighty-year-old Tīss revealed that for most of his life he had been a werewolf. The written records of the old man's testimony inspired the creation of this musical narrative for modern audiences.

The creative director of the Latvian Radio Choir, Kaspars Putniņš reveals that the project has been in the works for a long while and was created thanks to the collaboration between many creative forces. The basis of the concert production is a very old and true event: a court hearing where an old man named Tīss (likely short for Matīss) admits that he is a werewolf. His testimony to the judges ended up being a very well-documented interview.

Old Tīss: “Crop and tree blossoms and everything else that gets snatched from the devil, the werewolves throw in the air and it becomes a blessing for the land, for the rich and poor.”

The worldview of Tīss, evident in the court protocols, inspired Kaspars Putniņš to revive it in a modern concert performance that is structured like a conversation with the old man. The court records have been taken as the basis for this, and further interpreted by Guna Zariņa; the music was written by Matīss Čudars and Mārtiņš Viļums, a man well versed in folklore who also chose thematically complementary and deeply symbolic Latvian folk songs. Director Inga Tropa will help bring the story to life, and on the stage we shall find the Latvian Radio Choir, percussionist Ivars Arutjunians, and one of our own modern “Tīss” - Matīss Čudars, playing the guitar. The production will be enhanced by Fricis Kavelis's video projections

“In Tīss's words, we hear a worldview that has been lost in our modern age. The old Vidzemian felt that the lives of people were integrated into a wider circle of life where all living things and natural phenomena have souls, and to survive, one needs to understand these different beings and forces and respect them. Tīss saw serving his fellow people and God as the purpose of his life. Perhaps, a similar worldview has guided men like Saint Francis of Assisi who is said to have conversed with birds and animals. It seems that we, the modern people, who see with increasing clarity not only the achievements of modern civilization but also its dark sides, could learn a thing or two from this ancestor of ours” Kaspars Putniņš explains the motivation behind the concert story.

Tickets can be purchased in the Cēsis Concert Hall Box office, Biļešu Paradīze box offices and online in