Tchaikovsky’s last opera is tender, magical and poignant. Extolling the healing power of love, Iolanta tells the story of the king of Provence’s daughter, who is blind. King René has forbidden anyone from revealing the truth. When two young knights – her intended bridegroom and his best friend – stumble into the castle, Iolanta falls in love and discovers the truth about her sight. Upon learning of her illness, she yearns and wishes for healing so sincerely that a miracle happens, and she is cured; the opera culminating in a joyous hymn of praise. The score is particularly notable for its opening prelude which features only winds. The love duet is the best-known moment in the opera, as is the grand finale, both featuring some of Tchaikovsky’s most uplifting melodies.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra