Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, starring soprano Anna Netrebko, shares a double bill with Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, starring Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko.
Acclaimed Polish film director Mariusz Treliński makes his highly anticipated Met debut with the Metropolitan Opera’s new production, inspired by classic noir films of the 1940s, bringing together two rarely performed one-acts: Tchaikovsky’s lyrical fairy tale Iolanta, about the psychological awakening of a blind princess, and Bartók’s harrowing Bluebeard’s Castle, in which newlywed Judith must open seven locked doors to discover the full depths of her husband’s dark secrets.
Valery Gergiev conducts the double bill, which is a co-production with Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera. Anna Netrebko stars as the title character in Iolanta, with Piotr Beczala and Aleksei Markov as Vaudémont and Robert, two rivals for her love. Nadja Michael sings the central role of Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle, with Mikhail Petrenko as her mysterious and menacing new husband.
Bass baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.
Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle will be broadcast on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 12 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the program at 12:30 p.m.)
In reviewing the production, The New York Times noted, “There were overwhelming passages in Mr. Gergiev’s account of this astonishing Bartok score, with its Expressionist angst and Debussy-like lushness. He brought out rustic, folkloric elements in the music that seemed fresh.”
And Bloomberg found the double-bill to be “thrillingly staged by Mariusz Treliński… Both operas make poetic use of video in a way I’ve rarely seen on the opera stage. And both had superlative casts. Netrebko’s blooming soprano and dignity — even in a billowy white nightgown — humanized the princess. Piotr Beczala’s tenor gleamed as Vaudémont, who lights up her life.”
Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle was originally seen live in movie theaters on February 14, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 17 million viewers since its inception in 2006.