Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle

On Wednesday, February 18, I saw the perfect doubleheader at The Metropolitan Opera: Peter Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. I sometimes attend the Live in HD screenings at BAM, but I attended this one live at the opera house. Anna Netrebko was wonderful as the blind princess, Iolanta. I was surprised at how overt the religious references were in this piece, and to be honest, even though it was not a long opera, I found it rather sluggish despite the beautiful singing and the interesting story line. Bluebeard’s Castle was more fast-paced, but I thought it relied a bit too heavily on video, which became repetitive. Still, the moving from darkness to light in the first opera, then the descent from lightness to darkness in the second opera made this the perfect pairing. The antlers on the walls in both operas tied them together nicely as well. I know I sound a little lukewarm about these operas. I am glad I saw them, however, because they were unusual in terms of the typical grand spectacles that many operas can be. It was worth it to have a completely different operatic experience.

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