Sight But No Vision: 'Iolanta' and 'Bluebeard's Castle' at the Met

March 27, 2015 9:21 PM

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Double bills are a common phenomenon in the opera world. The most famous two are the pairing of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci and the best pairings of operas offer either a stark contrast between the pieces -- highlighting what makes each piece different and worthy of viewing in a new light -- or complement each other, showing that two works by different composers have similarities through themes or musical styles. The Met's new production of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta paired with Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle didn't do either, and the result was an evening as inert as the snow that blanketed Lincoln Center.

The first offering of the pairing that saw its final performance last night was Iolanta, Tchaikovsky's fairy tale about a blind princess protected from the world. First performed at the Mariinsky in 1892 (Paired with Tchaikovsky's most famous ballet, The Nutcracker), this was the work's first presen...

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