Jolanthe und der Nussknacker
The sensitive touch and profound musicality of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky transcend generic classifications, and Volksoper Wien sets out to prove it. Jolanthe und der Nussknacker presents a bold amalgamation of two of the Russian master’s most famous works: the opera Iolanta and the ballet The Nutcracker. Powered by the creativity of director Lotte de Beer and the choreography of Andrey Kaydanovskiy, the performance captures the spirit of Tchaikovsky’s musical storytelling in a new, unconventional way that will surprise and excite audiences in Vienna.
At the basis of Jolanthe und der Nussknacker lies Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta. The plot focuses on the blind princess Iolanta, who has never been told of her ailment. Her father, King René, does everything in his power so that his daughter does not have to confront her blindness head-on, and he is working hard to hide it from her fiancée, the Duke of Burgundy, Robert. Nevertheless, Iolanta knows deep inside that there is something missing in her life. Will the eventual epiphany serve as the gateway to a miraculous recovery?
The pairing of Iolanta with The Nutcracker at Vienna’s Volksoper has historical precedent. In fact, Tchaikovsky’s famous opera and ballet premiered on a double bill on 18 December 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. The modern Viennese production goes a step further by fusing the two works together completely. It presents the fairy tale narrative of The Nutcracker ballet as the colourful and exciting visions of Princess Iolanta’s inner eye. The fantastical tale of E. T. A. Hoffmann serves as a perfect metaphor for Iolanta’s escape into a world of magic and wonder. Her journey reflects the inevitable transition from childhood into adulthood, self-knowledge, independence, and growth. Jolanthe und der Nussknacker tell this wonderful story about coming of age in an exciting new way that honours Tchaikovsky’s talent and puts it into an intriguing new context.