Opera Scotland

Iolanta 1992Opera North

Read more about the opera Iolanta

Iolanta was first performed in a double-bill with The Nutcracker - and for many years that was all we knew, or felt we needed to know about it. This recreation of that double bill was very different from the Mariinsky premiere. Matthew Bourne's new version, Nutcracker! has since become something of a modern classic, almost on a par with his brilliant Swan Lake that came along later. That does not mean that Iolanta is no good. Indeed it is now widely recognised to be an extremely moving piece which should be performed more often.

The cast was led by Joan Rodgers, an expert in romantic Russian repertoire, whose degree in the language was not required on this occasion. She is a subtle actress, and was ably backed up by Kim Begley and Norman Bailey.

This production was generally well done, though. Notwithstanding the creation of an excellent recording by Kirov forces, the opera still has not caught on the way it should. It is generally considered to be slightly too sentimental. Rather more important than that is the difficulty in finding a second opera with which to couple it - back in the 1970s the English Opera Group followed it with Sullivan's Trial By Jury. Perhaps one of Rachmaninov's trio of one-acters would work. It certainly seems that combining opera and ballet in one evening seems to alienate significant numbers of both opera-lovers and dance-lovers. A great pity.

Performance Cast

Marthe Iolanta's nurse and Bertrand's wife

Tamsin Dives

Iolanta King René's blind daughter

Joan Rodgers

Brigitte Iolanta's friend

Anne-Marie Ives

Laure Iolanta's friend

Lesley Roberts

Bertrand Keeper of the castle

David Gwynne

Alméric King René's armour-bearer

Philip Mills

René King of Provence

Norman Bailey

Ibn-Hakia a Moorish physician

Clive Bayley

Vaudémont Joffroi, Count Vaudémont, a Burgundian knight

Kim Begley

Robert Duke of Burgundy

Robert Hayward

Performance DatesIolanta 1992

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

26 Aug, 19.30 28 Aug, 19.30 29 Aug, 19.30

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