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Igor Stravinsky Le Rossignol

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Iolanta

Lyric tale in three acts

Concert performances
In Russian with German and English surtitles


  • 15 August 2011, 15:00


  • 20 August 2011, 20:30

Print programme (PDF)


Julia Novikova, The Nightingale
Julia Lezhneva, The Cook
Antonio Poli, The Fisherman
Andrei Bondarenko, The Emperor of China
Andrè Schuen, The Chamberlain
Yuri Vorobiev, The Bonze
Maria Radner, Death
Claudia Galli, Soprano solo
Theresa Holzhauser, Contralto solo
Andrew Owens, Derek Welton, Elliot Madore, Three Japanese Envoys
Adrian Kelly, Piano
Rachel Andrist, Celesta
Oliver Strömsdörfer, Mandolin


Anna Netrebko, Iolanta, blind daughter of King René
Piotr Beczała, Count Vaudémont, Burgundian knight
John Relyea, René, King of Provence
Evgeny Nikitin, Ibn-Hakia, Moorish physician
Alexey Markov, Robert, Duke of Burgundy
Antonio Poli, Alméric, armour-bearer to King René
Yuri Vorobiev, Bertrand, doorkeeper to the castle
Maria Radner, Martha, Bertrand's wife, Iolanta’s nursemaid
Julia Lezhneva, Brigitta, Iolanta´s friend
Rachel Frenkel, Laura, Iolanta´s friend

Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg
Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Jörn Hinnerk Andresen, Chorus Master
Ivor Bolton, Conductor


When Tchaikovsky read Henrik Hertz’ play King René’s Daughter in 1883, he was impressed by its “poetical quality, originality and abundance of lyrical moments”. King René’s daughter is the blind Iolanta, who is shielded from the outside world without knowing that other people are different from her, as they can see. This knowledge, however, is the precondition that the Moorish doctor Ibn-Hakia – who is convinced of the inseparability of body and spirit – sets for a possible healing of the princess. The king is reluctant to enlighten his daughter about her blindness, but young Vaudémont arrives as a potential savior: he instills not only love in Iolanta, but also a desire to see the light, “the Creator’s first gift to his world”. Tchaikovsky composed Iolanta in 1891: the work, which illuminates the inner processes of his title figure in a sensitive way, is his last opera.
On the other hand, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol (The Nightingale, 1908/14) is his first attempt at opera, a “lyric tale” set in China, in which both a real nightingale and an artificial one play a central role. Andersen’s fairy-tale and the idea it expresses – that nature is always superior to any imitation invented by humans, no matter how perfect it is – inspired Stravinsky to write a brilliantly orchestrated score, which also incorporates grotesque and dark elements.