Iolanta by Pytor Tchaikovsky Rose Opera at the Normansfield Theatre
Normansfield Theatre - 24 March 2019
Review by Didie Bucknall
The scene is set in the paradise garden of an overprotective king who is desperately trying to shield his daughter from discovering that she is blind. She is cosseted by many maidens who tend to her everyday needs. She is oblivious to the fact that she cannot see and is content with much; the sound of the wind in the trees, the smell of flowers, the warming of the sun, but feels a certain melancholy as though something is missing from her life.
Iolanta, Tchaikovsky’s short lyric opera in one act was performed in the original Russian by the fledgling Rose Opera in the unique Normansfield theatre, still unspoilt with its beautiful arts and crafts decoration and stage settings.
Ukrainian born Tamara Ravenhill took the lead part of Iolanta is a beautiful lirico spinto soprano and we look forward to hearing her in future Rose Opera productions. She held the audience, as the blind princess felt her way around the garden.
Intruders arrive. Ian Helm as Iolanta’s intended suitor Robert, in fine voice, bewails the fact that though he had been betrothed to Iolanta from childhood, as he had been smitten by love elsewhere. Luckily for him it was love at first sight for his friend Vaudémort, played by Andy Evans, and it was he who revealed to Iolanta the fact that she was blind, thereby incurring the king’s wrath, for a mysterious oriental healer (Aleksi Koponen, another fine baritone) can only heal Iolanta if she really wishes to be healed. She makes her decision and, as she gains her sight, we the audience are blinded by the suddenness of the colourful set and the bright light. She shields her eyes and we feel her shock as the stage erupts in a blaze of colour … …
Read Didie Bucknall’s review at www.markaspen.com/2019/03/25/iolanta
Photography by Tom Medwell
A New Look Iolanta