Ballet, opera and Tchaikovsky – the cultural calendar for the month of June in the Principality most definitely exhibits a Russian bias.
**Unfortunately, due to illness, the production of Iolanta has been cancelled. All concerned offer their apologies for this inconvenience. Refunds will be issued in accordance with terms of sale.**
Amongst the highlights of this month’s Russia in Monaco festival must surely be the appearance of two of Russia’s brightest operatic stars – soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Sergei Skorokhodov in a concert version of Tchaikovsky’s one-act opera, Iolanta.
Anna Netrebko – hailed by Associated Press as “the reigning new diva of the early 21st century” – sings the title role in the story of a beautiful girl who is unaware that she is blind. Her ignorance is the result of the efforts of her fiercely protective father, King René, to prevent her from finding out. Sergei Skorokhodov – whom the St Petersburg Times describes as “one of the Mariinsky’s principal treasures” – is Count Vaudémont, who falls in love with Iolanta and reveals the truth of her father’s secret to her.
Iolanta was Tchaikovsky’s eleventh and last completed opera. Written in 1891, it was based on a story, König Renes Tochter (1846) by the Danish dramatist and poet, Henrik Hertz, with libretto by the composer’s brother, Modest. Iolanta premiered at the Mariinksy Theatre in St Petersburg on 18th December, 1892.
The opera has previously been performed in Monte-Carlo only once – in April 2001. This festival performance is a co-production between the Monte-Carlo Opera and the Grimaldi Forum.
French conductor Emmanuel Villaume – currently in his third season as Music Director of The Dallas Opera – leads the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Monte-Carlo Opera Chorus and the Chorus of Nice Opera. The Chorus Master is Stefano Visconti.
This concert performance of Iolanta takes place on Sunday, 21st June, at the Grimaldi Forum, at 20h00. For tickets, call +377 98 06 28 28.
Another highlight of the Russian festival this month is the Gala Concert to be given by dancers of the Princess Grace Academy, performing extracts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
This is Swan Lake with a difference, though. The Academy’s Director of Artistic Instruction, Luca Masala, has devised a programme which includes extracts of the ballet by four different choreographers. They include the traditional version by Lev Ivanov – dancer, choreographer and Second Ballet Master of the Imperial Ballet in St Petersburg from 1885 to 1901; Swedish choreographer Mats Ek’s highly original contemporary interpretation; and Jean-Christophe Maillot’s creation entitled simply LAC.
The students will also perform a version of the ballet specially designed for them by Marco Goecke, Choreographer in Residence at the Stuttgart Ballet, and an artist who is regularly invited to work with the Monte-Carlo Ballet. Linking all these interpretations of Swan Lake, is Gaëtan Morlotti – a former soloist with the Monte-Carlo Ballet – who takes the role of Rothbart.
The dancers will be accompanied by the International Youth Orchestra of Monte-Carlo, under the direction of Alessandro Crudele, in collaboration with the Rainier III Academy of Music.
The performance takes place at the Salle Garnier in the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on 26th and 27th June. For tickets call +377 98 06 28 00.
Lead image courtesy Opéra de Monte-Carlo press office, © Dario Acosta