Musical preparation: Jan Latham-Koenig
Conductor: Jan Latham-Koenig, Zbyněk Müller
Stage director: Dominik Beneš
Sets: Martin Černý
Costumes: Zuzana Přidalová
Motion cooperation: Dana Pala
Lighting design: Martin Špetlík
Chorus master: Martin Buchta
Dramaturgy: Ondřej Hučín
The NightingaleLibretto: Igor Stravinsky, Stěpan Mitusov
IolantaLibretto: Modest Iljič Čajkovskij
National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra
Igor Stravinsky’s first and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s final opera hail from two totally different musical worlds – Iolanta is still borne in the spirit of Romantic refinement, known from the composer’s operas, ballets and symphonies, whereas Le rossignol, written 20 years later, blends the magic of Impressionism and the tumultuous Impressionist idiom. Yet the two works, so distant from one another at first glance, have much in common – not only their being based on fairy tales, but also the theme and, if you will, message, which is inherent to the genre.
The omnipotent Chinese Emperor lives amidst excessive luxury, which binds, suffocates and poisons him by its affectation, and has no inkling as to the beauty of Nature and its creatures. His eyes are only opened by a song of an ordinary nightingale.
Princess Iolanta has been blind since birth and her father meticulously sees to her never learning of her affliction. She lives in a beautiful, enclosed garden and no one is ever allowed to mention light, colours or human vision in her presence. One day, the garden is entered by the knight Vaudémont, who falls in love with Iolanta and arouses in the blind Princess the desire to see.
Although works by two great masters of global music, neither of the fairy-tale operas has to date been staged at the National Theatre, with Stravinsky’s Le rossignol only having been presented twice in a concert performance, in 2010. Our new production is musically prepared by the renowned British conductor Jan Latham-Koenig, who worked in Prague some five years ago. On the other hand, the gifted Czech stage director Dominik Beneš makes his debut at the National Theatre.
The operas are staged in Russian original version and English and Czech surtitles are used in the performance.
Approximate running time, including intermission: 2 hours, 50 minutes, one 20-minute intermission.
Photo: Patrik Borecký