9 comments on “Light of Truth / Truth of Light – Iolanta & Bluebeard’s Castle

  1. This production was broadcast last night (recorded from Saturday) on our BBC Classical Music station. Didn’t listen, but might on ‘ketchup’ later.
    Don’t know ‘Iolanta’ at all, never having heard it let alone seeing it. Am exceedingly curious – like were there some of Piotr’s trademark BIG tunes?
    I know the Bartok well, having seen it a few times, once being in Amsterdam where it was done twice in succession in one evening, – the second time with the two characters playing out their actions in reverse as to the first time around. (Though the music was, of course, played ‘forward’ again.) Made for a thought-provoking evening. But all the decor was severe black and white, the only colour being the vivid red of Judit’s lipstick and, later, blood. Disappointed that they didn’t make it visually more interesting by bathing the stage in the colours, as designated, each time a door is opened.
    I like the piece – cerebral, mystic, frequently savage – though it wouldn’t be ‘Desert Island Disc’ material for me.

    • You are still a step ahead of me. I was unfamiliar with both pieces before seeing them. Iolanta is definitely a ‘numbers’ opera. There are bits of this production on Youtube. I know little about it’s history. Before reading about it I assumed it was an earlier work but it was actually his last opera. Being a one-act it prompted me to wonder whether it was unfinished but it premiered before his death so I guess not. It runs about 2 hrs 10 min so it’s a long one-act.

      The Amsterdam production as a double bill with itself is an intriguing idea. The Met production is largely black/white/gray palate (again, 50 Shades of…) with the exception of the blood and one cerulean dress that becomes important in the final scene. Again, there are bits on Youtube

  2. Didn’t know ‘Iolante’ was a late work. (Wish I could stop thinking of G & S whenever I hear/see it mentioned!) Makes it even more important to get familiar with it – or even just to hear it once.

  3. you give an excellent critique of the shows as always. I like the story of Bluebeard, a moral tale along the line that curiosity killed the cat. Though in the original tale the wife escapes and it is Bluebeard who is murdered by the wife’s brother. It is a pleasure to read such a knowledgeable review.

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