Vienna Opera Tickets

Vienna State Opera

I, € 354
II, € 298
III, € 240
IV, € 178
V, € 125

Iolanta, Opera by Piotr I. Tchaikovsky

Iolanta, Opera by Piotr I. Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's sumptuous lyric opera, Iolanta, is staged at the Vienna State Opera this season, a must-see production for fans of the great Russian composer and high-quality operatic performances in the heart of the Austrian capital. The Vienna State Opera, or Wiener Staatsoper to give it its proper German name, is among the leading opera houses in the world so seeing Iolanta performed on its famous stage will be a delight for many who appreciate the depth of Tchaikovsky's operatic music. Adapted from a Danish stage play called Kong Renés Datter (King René's Daughter), written by Henrik Hertz, Iolanta's premiere took place on 18 December 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.

Hertz's story focuses on the life of Yolande de Bar, a real-life 15th-century Duchess from what is now modern-day France. In the romanticised play, Yolande is the blind daughter of the King René. The title character is named Iolanthe in Hertz's play but this was altered to Iolanta when Modest Tchaikovsky, Pyotr's brother, produced his libretto for the composer to work with. Due to a somewhat overprotective father, Iolanta is placed in hiding in the mountainous region of the Vosges. However, King René wants not only to have his daughter's blindness cured but keeps from her the fact that she has a disability at all. He also hides this fact from her betrothed, Prince Robert, the Duke of Burgundy.

Robert declares his love for another to Vaudémont, his companion, after arriving at court. Later, there is a chance meeting between Iolanta and Robert at which the Duke doesn't recognise her. Vaudémont, who realises Iolanta cannot see after she hands him the wrong coloured roses, falls for her. The King is furious and threatens Vaudémont's life to encourage his daughter to undergo treatment for her, now-revealed, condition. The story reaches a thrilling climax in the final scene when Robert returns with an army telling the King he will honour his betrothal.

The final opera he wrote before his death in 1893, Iolanta demonstrates Tchaikovsky's compositional skills in all their glory. For example, the opening overture is remarkable insofar as no strings are used in its orchestration. There are many repeated notes which create insistent pulses in the score while descending melodic phrases, which are used frequently, perhaps suggesting something of the darkness that Iolanta is accustomed to. With such a prestigious opera house and one of Tchaikovsky's most intimate works, this production will charm all who get the chance to see it.

image Vienna State Opera / Julius Silver