Iolanta, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's final opera, was commissioned by St. Petersburg's Imperial Theatres as part of a double bill with a new ballet — which became The Nutcracker. Although Iolanta, unlike its companion piece, has remained relatively unknown outside of Russia, it is prime operatic Tchaikovsky and overdue for discovery by the world at large.
Bluebeard's Castle is Béla Bartók's only opera and is an intense psychological journey, a powerful drama of inner emotion, and a tour de force for two singers (and the orchestra). In it, the bride Judith prods Bluebeard to open seven doors, each of which reveals an aspect of Bluebeard's life, material possessions, and by extension, his mind.
Mariusz Treliński's haunting production of the pairing of Tchaikovsky's and Bartók's one-act operas makes its first return to the stage since its Met premiere in the 2014-15 season. Soprano Sonya Yoncheva — following her triumphant 2017-18 performances as Tosca — is the blind princess Iolanta, who discovers love for the first time, opposite tenor Matthew Polenzani as the dashing knight Vaudémont. In Bartók's chilling Bluebeard's Castle, baritone Gerald Finley is the menacing Bluebeard, and soprano Angela Denoke is his initially unsuspecting new wife. Henrik Nánási conducts.