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  • 1 Ungarische Akademie der Künste Kecske u. 25 H-1034 Budapest Ungarn
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On 18 March 1893 the opera Toldi by Ödön (Edmund von) Mihalovich (1842–1929) was premiered at the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest. Three month later Ferenc Erkel, founder and single most important composer of the Hungarian national opera died. One of the funeral speeches at his burial was held by Mihalovich. This gesture was meant as a symbolic mounting of the guard on the national operatic scene. However, Toldi, written on a libretto based on Toldi szerelme (Toldi’s Love), the middle epic of János Arany’s Toldi trilogy, proved to be unsuccesful. It was staged again as Toldi’s Love in 1895 after a thorough revision. One cannot overlook the fact that in the newly composed third act Mihalovich wanted to write the loyalist counterpart of the conflictuous third act in Erkel’s Bánk bán. The paper discusses the question whether the first and only opera on a Hungarian text by the solid Wagnerite Mihalovich could at the time fulfil the official national expectations and become the representative national opera of the Millennium, that is, the Thousand Year Jubilee of the Carpathian Basin’s conquest by the Hungarian tribes, celebrated in 1896.