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19 March 2019 (Tue), 19:00 Mikhailovsky Classical Ballet and Opera Theatre (established 1833) - ! PREMIERE ! Opera Peter Tchaikovsky "Iolanta" (Opera in 1 Act)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Peter Tchaikovsky "Iolanta" (Opera in 1 Act) 2020

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Orchestra: Mikhailovsky Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mikhailovsky Opera

Opera in 1 act

Performed in Russian, with synchronised English supertitles

World premiere: 18 December, 1892, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia

With his latest production, Andriy Zholdak seeks to highlight the inner light and beauty of the soul. The director, who made his operatic debut with Eugene Onegin, has developed a taste for the genre and now works regularly with European opera houses. Rehearsals are currently under way for his production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolantaat Mikhailovsky Theatre. The heroine of the old French legend was born blind but acquires the ability to see when she falls in love and experiences heartache. The changes that occur in Iolanta offer the director a pretext to reflect on the unity and struggle of light and darkness in the world and in every human being.

Opera in two acts by Peter Tchaikovsky

Libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky based on Heinrich Hertz’s dramatic poem "Koenig Renes Tochter"


The action takes place in XV century. Iolanta, the blind daughter of the King of Provence, is whiling away the time in the gar­den of the castle. As the curtain rises she is talk­ing to her nurse, Marta. She tells Marta that she has never ever felt so depressed, Iolanta’s friends, Brigitte and Laura, try to cheer her up by singing songs and bringing her posies of flowers. Marta also tries to comfort Iolanta by singing her favourite lullaby. This sends Iolanta to sleep. The sleeping Iolanta is carried into the castle. There is a fanfare of trumpets and Almerik, King Rene’s sword-bearer, appears. He informs the castle doorman, Bertrand, that very soon the King will be arriving with a famous Physician who, it is hoped, will cure Iolanta of her blindness. The trumpets sound again, announcing the arrival of the King. King Rene enters accompanied by the Moorish Physician, Ibn-Hakia. King Rene tells Ibn-Hakia that Iolanta has been betrothed from infancy to Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and is soon to marry him, but the Duke does not know that his future wife is blind and, indeed, Iolanta herself is totally unaware of her misfortune, Iolanta had been brought up by her father in this remote cas­tle and he had surrounded her with loyal retain­ers whom he had ordered on pain of death not to tell her the truth. Ibn-Hakia says that the only cure for Iolanta is to inform her of her disability and then, so long as she passionately wishes to recover her sight, she will do so. King Rene, full of anxieties for his daughter, retires in indecision to the castle together with the Physician.

Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and his friend the Knight, Count Vaudemont, appear on the scene. They are impressed to find a beautiful garden in such a wild, remote spot. The notice over the entrance to the garden which threatens with death anyone entering it without permission, puz­zles them. Robert is downhearted for he is soon to be united in matrimony with Iolanta whom he has never met and his heart already belongs to another, Iolanta appears on the castle terrace. Vaudemont is struck by her beauty. Hearing voic­es, she does not recognize, Iolanta suggests to the strangers that they rest under the shade of the trees and she hurries off to fetch them some wine. Left alone with his friend, the Duke, who has a sceptical attitude to the world, voices his apprehensions and decides to leave; Vaudemont, who is quite enchanted by Iolanta’s beauty, stays behind. When Iolanta returns he tells her of the great impression she has made on him and asks her to pick him a red rose in mem­ory of their meeting, Iolanta plucks him a rose, but it is a white one. Vaudemont repeats his request and again he is handed a white rose. The Count begins to suspect something is wrong. He picks a bunch of roses and asks Iolanta to tell him how many flowers there are in the bunch, Iolanta asks him to give her the roses so that she may count them. Vaudemont now realizes that Iolanta is blind. And he tells her so. He tries, in so far as is possible, to comfort Iolanta but, getting somewhat carried away, he starts to describe to her the beauties of God’s world which she is destined never to see.

Voices are heard: the King enters, followed by Physician Ibn-Hakia and servants. Rene is horrified when he learns that Vaudemont has told Iolanta of her disability; he does not know what to do to help his daughter and eventually suggests that she should try Physician Ibn-Hakia’s course of treatment, Iolanta is not enthusiastic about this and says she is quite happy as she is which makes the Physician lose all hope that his treatment will be effective. Noticing that Iolanta is very much taken by Vaudemont, King Rene tells the Knight that he will be executed unless his daughter recov­ers her sight, Iolanta, out of her mind with love for Vaudemont, begs the Physician to cure her and goes with him into the castle.

A fanfare of trumpets announces the arrival of the Duke of Burgundy who, with a group of armed knights, is hurrying to the rescue of his friend. Robert is amazed to see King Rene. Vaudemont confesses to Robert that he is in love with Iolanta, the latter’s betrothed, and asks him to tell the King that he, Robert, has given his heart to someone else. Rene consents to the marriage of Iolanta and Count Vaudemont. Shouts of joy are heard, Iolanta, who has recov­ered her sight, appears at the castle door. Overjoyed, King Rene hurries to embrace his daughter and then leads Vaudemont up to her. Falling on her knees, Iolanta gives passionate thanks to God for her recovery.

Schedule for Peter Tchaikovsky "Iolanta" (Opera in 1 Act) 2020

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