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Music Text

Libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky after the play 'King René's Daughter' by Henrik Hertz; German version by Hans Schmidt (R,G)


2S,M,A,2T,2Bar,2B; chorus;

Cyrillic vocal material with German phonetic notation available upon request

Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Mariinski-Theater, St Petersburg
Company: unknown


RENÉ, King of Provence Bass
ROBERT, Duke of Burgundy Baritone
COUNT VAUDÉMONT, a Burgundian knight Tenor
EBN-CHAKIA, a Moorish physician Baritone
ALMERIK, King René's weapon carrier Tenor
BERTRAN, porter of the castle Bass
IOLANTA, King René's blind daughter Soprano
MARTA, Bertran's wife, Iolanta's nurse Contralto
BRIGITTA and LAURA, Iolanta's friends Soprano, Mezzo Soprano
Iolanta's friends and attendants, King's entourage, Robert's followers
Time and Place

In the Vosges, a garden with blooming rose bushes and trees full of ripe fruit and a pavilion; mid-15th century


The blind Iolanta is brought up in a secluded garden and must not be told of her blindness by order of King René. Vaudémon and Robert enter the garden; Robert is supposed to marry Iolanta. When Vaudémon sees her asleep, he is charmed at once. At this point, René approaches the garden with the physician Ebn-Chakia; the king is even ready to give up his power if only the doctor can give his daughter her sight back. But Ebn-Chakia tells him that this is only possible if she herself wants to be cured. Vaudémon, who knows nothing of René's order, has become aware that Iolanta is blind and explains to her what seeing is. With a trick, René manages to make Iolanta declare that she wishes to be cured. Robert, the bridegroom-to-be, then returns. However, he is in love with Matilda, the Duchess of Burgundy…



Recommended Recording

Galina Gorchakova, Gegam Grigorian, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Sergei Alexashkin, Nikolai Putilin, Larissa Dyadkova, Nikolai Gassiev, Tatiana Kravtsova, Olga Korzhenskaya, Gennadi Bezzubenkov/Kirov Opera/Valery Gergiev
Philips  442 796-2

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