Based on the Danish play Kong Renés Datter (“King René’s Daughter”) by Henrik Hertz, a dark and beautiful fairy tale of isolation and enchantment, Iolanta is a lyric opera in one act by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky with a libretto written by his brother Modest.
Hertz’s poetic drama, Kong Renés Datter, is a romanticized account of the life of Yolande de Bar, Duchess of Lorraine (whose sister, Margeret of Anjou, married Henry VI of England), in which (totally disregarding historical accuracy) Iolanta is depicted as a beautiful sixteen-year-old princess who lives in a protected garden paradise. Blinded in a childhood accident, her attendants must keep from her the knowledge that she is blind, while a Moorish physician conducts a long slow medical procedure to restore her sight.
Tchaikovsky’s interest in the subject was stirred by his reading of Hertz’s play, to which he then made up his mind to set it to music. Iolanta was Tchaikovsky’s eleventh and last completed opera.
Thursday 19 October 2023, Lectures begin at 2.00pm and end at 4.00pm
£10. Pay at the door