Iolanta and The Nutcracker


This title has a double bill of Tchaikovsky works, an opera and a ballet:

  1. Iolanta opera to a libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky. Stars Sonya Yoncheva (Iolanta), Arnold Rutkowski (Vaudémont), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (King René), Andrei Zhilikhovsky (Robert), Vito Priante (Ibn-Hakia), Elena Zaremba (Marta), Roman Shulakov (Alméric), Gennady Bezzubenkov (Bertrand), Anna Patalong (Brigitta), and Paola Gardina (Laura). Sung in Russian.

  2. The Nutcracker ballet to a libretto by Dmitri Tcherniakov. Choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Edouard Lock, and Arthur Pita. Stars Marion Barbeau (Marie), Stéphane Bullion (Vaudémont), Nicholas Paul (Drosselmeyer), Aurelien Houette (The Father), Alice Renavand (The Mother), Takeru Coste (Robert), and Caroline Bance (The Sister).

For both productions: Directed 2016 by Dmitri Tcherniakov at the Opéra national de Paris. Alain Altinoglu conducts the Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris, Chœurs de l’Opéra national de Paris, Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine, and the Chœur d’Enfants de l’Opéra national de Paris (Chorus Master Alessandro di Stefano). Set design by Dmitri Tcherniakov; costume design by Elena Zaitseva; lighting design by Gleb Filshtinksy; video by Andrey Zelenin. Directed for TV by Andy Sommer; produced by François Duplat and Lourent Métivier. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

Iolanta and The Nutcracker, both shorter works, premiered together in Saint Petersburg in 1892. They were then, of course, completely distinct and unrelated works from Tchaikovsky. When Regietheatermeister Tcherniakov was hired to direct Iolanta, he talked the Paris Opera into allowing him to present the double bill again and to make changes to connect the two works. Tcherniakov specializes in making wrenching changes in opera libretti for startling purposes. The results range from horrible (Dialogues des carmélites) to marvelous (The Tsar’s Bride). (There were originally 5 choreographers hired to work on this. Two couldn’t stand the chaos and dropped out.)

As always with Dmitri, you pay your money, watch, and then you can vote. Well, we have bought this disc and it’s in our “Review ASAP” stack. Hang in there with us!

In the meantime, here are 2 YouTube clips about this wildly original show (only the 1st comes directly from the Blu-ray):