Director Dmitri Tcherniakov Combines Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' and 'Iolanta' at Paris Opera

By Thomas Swan on Apr 03, 2016 11:04 AM EDT

Stage director Dmitrii Tchneriakov has a dream. He wants to produce the entire Russian stage repertoire. Since this is Paris and not the New York Met, where every other production has to be one of Wagner's Ring Cycle, he just might be able to get it done. Tchneriakov got off to a good start recently when he combined two of Pyotor Tchaikovsky's pieces, Nutcracker and Iolanta and saw them performed at the Paris Opéra at the Palais Garnier March 14th.

The production was conducted by Alain Altinoglu and starred Bulgarian born opera star Sonya Yoncheva. It was Tchneriakov's drive and determination that brought the entire project to realization. According to the website Opera News, "Tcherniakov rightly identified that the worlds of ballet and opera often live side by side without real contact. For this reason he placed the first interval of a long evening before the final scene of Iolanta, in order to forge a single drama with The Nutcracker. To this end the ballet was no longer a spun-sugar fairy tale, but an exploration of the inner life of Marie-here Iolanta's double-for whom the performance of the opera had been given as a birthday present." Both Iolanta and The Nutcracker were meant to be performed together in a single bill but hadn't been done as such since its premiere.

Of note in most of the reviews of the production has been Ms. Yoncheva's performance. BachTrack online noted, "Sonya Yoncheva triumphed as Iolanta. Her lyric soprano has a creamy lower register, yet has clarity and strength at the top. She is also a deeply affecting actress, playing 'blind' totally convincingly. The scene where Vaudémont discovers her blindness - when he asks her to pick a red rose and she plucks a white one - was desperately moving."

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TagsDmitrii Tchneriakov, Pyotor Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker, Iolanta, Russian Opera, Paris

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