Summary Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Iolanta


Lyrical opera in one act1

Libretto by M. I. Tchaikovsky


Rene, the King of Provence

Robert, Duke of Burgundy

Vaudemont, Earl, Burgundian Knight

Ebn-Hakia, a Moorish doctor

Almeric, the squire of King René

Bertrand, the gatekeeper of the palace

Iolanthe, daughter of King René (blind)

Marta, Bertrand’s wife, Iolanthe’s nurse












Iolanthe’s friends


Mezzo soprano

The servants and friends of Iolanthe, the retinue of the king, the army of the Duke of Burgundy and the squires.


action takes place in the mountains of southern France in the XV century.


“Iolanta” is Tchaikovsky’s last opera. In 1884, the composer read the translation of a one-act drama in the poems of the Danish writer Henrik Hertz (1798-1870) “The daughter of King René” (1845) and was captivated by the originality and poetry of the plot. The attention of the composer was distracted by the work on other works, and only in 1891 he began to compose “Iolanta”. The composer’s brother Mikhail Tchaikovsky (1850-1916) was ordered a libretto based on the drama of Hertz in the reworking of V. Zotov (in this alteration, the drama was named in 1888 on the stage of the Moscow Maly Theater). The work began on July 10, by September 4 all the music was written, and in December the orchestration was finished. The first performance of the opera (together with the ballet “The Nutcracker”) took place on December 6 (18), 1892, at the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater.

The touching story of blind Iolanthe, healed by love, contains a great humanistic

thought. The eternal darkness, in which the daughter of King René, unaware of her misfortune, lives serenely and calmly, becomes a symbol of spiritual blindness, which is a source of deep grief for her close people. Only love and compassion ignite in the heart of Iolanthe a passionate desire to see the world, give rise to a willingness for self-sacrifice and the courage to endure the torments at the cost of which it can see clearly.

Opera is perceived as an enthusiastic, radiant hymn of love, revealing the best aspects of the human soul, carrying with itself the light of knowledge, the enjoyment of beauty and happiness.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Summary Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Iolanta