West Australian Opera re-envisions Tchaikovsky’s final opera, Iolanta, in a world premiere production co-created with the blind and vision impaired community of Perth. Staged in shadow and darkness, experience Iolanta at His Majesty’s Theatre in an immersive four-performance season from 6 – 9 April.
Recounting the story of a blind princess, Iolanta lives strictly guarded from awareness that sight is even a sense; a ruling by the King. Audiences witness the story of a young woman who is held captive, not by her blindness, but by the ignorance and assumptions of those around her.
In a world premiere production, West Australian Opera has worked closely with the blind and vision impaired community to re-work parts of the libretto to incorporate the experience of someone living with a disability. Director Katt Osborne and disability advocate Zel Iscel led the production’s creative development and re-crafted the libretto; translated and adapted into a singable English version of the opera.
Iolanta offers more than the soaring voices and sweeping melodies of Tchaikovsky’s sumptuously beautiful music. The production will take audiences on a journey to discover the world as the blind and vision impaired see it, in a truly immersive experience.
As his last opera, Tchaikovsky was at the height of his powers when he composed Iolanta – composed alongside his now most famous ballet, The Nutcracker. Both works premiered as a double bill on 18 December 1892.
Reflecting on the opera, West Australian Opera’s Artistic Director and the production’s conductor, Chris van Tuinen, highlights:
Iolanta is a Fabergé egg of an opera. It’s beautiful and elaborate and gorgeously scored. You feel like you’re in very accomplished hands when you listen to the music of this piece.
After thrilling audiences with her performances in West Australian Opera’s Opera in the Park productions of La traviata and La bohème, acclaimed local soprano Elena Peroni returns home from New York City to perform the title role. She stars alongside a talented cast of West Australian singers, the West Australian Opera Chorus, and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
Blind actress Grace King stars as Iolanta at a later age providing her commentary of the character’s lived experience and perspective on the unfolding events.
Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre
Date: 6 -9 April 2022
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