March 20 and 27 at 3pm
March 26 at 7:30pm
100 minutes, No Intermission
244 San Pedro St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Director: Josh Shaw
Conductor: Isaac Selya
Assistant Director: Carson Gilmore
Costumes: Maggie Green
Iolanta: Cristina Jones
Vaudemont: Benjamin Werley
King Rene: Andrew Potter
Robert: Simon Barrad
Ibn-Hakia: Andrew Allan Hiers
Martha: Megan Potter
Brigitta: Brooke Iva Lohman
Laura: Danielle Marcelle Bond
Bertran: Joel Balzun
Almerik: William Grundler
Lead Sponsor: Jennifer Diener
Co-Sponsor: Alice Coloumb
POP returns to the 800-seat Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo for a very special production of Tchaikovsky’s fairytale opera, Iolanta. Cristina Jones, AKA “The Blind Soprano”, stars in the opera’s title role about a princess who is unaware that she is blind. The cast also includes POP favorites Andrew and Megan Potter as King René and Martha and Andrew Allan Hiers as Ibn-Hakia. POP will partner with low-sight organizations for this production to encourage awareness and to amplify their efforts. Special arrangements will also be made for low-sighted audience members, including braille programs. Iolanta will be POP’s first opera presented in Russian and will feature a 32-piece orchestra conducted by Isaac Selya.
Tickets are sold through the Aratani Theatre and range from $12 to $60.
Iolanta is a princess who has been blind since birth. Hidden away from the world in a beautiful garden, Iolanta’s father, King René, has gone to great lengths to hide Iolanta’s blindness from her. She does not know she is different from everyone else, nor does she know of sight, colors, or light. Her attendants provide for her every need and make sure that no one ever reveals the truth to her. Though every wish is at her beckoned command, and she wants for nothing, Iolanta senses something is missing in her life.
King René has traveled the world in search of a cure for his daughter’s blindness. He returned to the garden with a magic healer who believes that Iolanta’s blindness can be cured. The healer warns the King that his magic is not absolute and there is a chance that his powers will not cure Iolanta. Before he can even attempt his magic, Iolanta must first learn that she is blind. Furthermore she must also have a strong desire to see. The King refuses the treatment because he is worried that Iolanta will be devastated if she learns of her blindness, but is not granted sight.
While lost in the mountains , two knights, Duke Robert and Vaudemont accidentally find the hidden garden. Robert and Vaudemont ignore the warning inscribed on the entrance to the garden which promises death for anyone who trespasses, and they enter paradise. Inspired by its beauty, Robert sings of his love for another woman, Matilda, but that he is betrothed to Iolanta, the daughter of King René, whom he has never met. Robert and Vaudemont, unaware of who she is, discover the sleeping Iolanta, and Vaudemont is instantly captivated by her beauty. Robert is perplexed by his friend's behavior, and is convinced that Iolanta is a fairy who has cast a spell on Vaudemont. He leaves the garden but swears to return with his guards to rescue his bewitched friend.
Iolanta awakes and meets Vaudemont. He notices that Iolanta cannot tell the difference between the red and white roses growing in the garden. In fact, she does not even comprehend the concepts of color or light. After his initial shock, Vaudemont tenderly explains the concept of light and color to her. Iolanta begins to grasp the idea of sight and understands that she has lived differently, though she is not sad nor disheartened.
Suddenly, the King and his attendants enter the garden and are devastated to see Iolanta and Vaudemont together. Vaudemont tells the King that he is in love with Iolanta, and that he doesn’t care if she is blind or sighted, he loves her just as she is. Now that Iolanta knows she is blind, the healer believes that his power to bring her sight may work. However, she does not show a strong desire to see.
The King, seeing an opportunity to give her such a desire, threatens to execute Vaudemont. In order to save Vaudemont from death, Iolanta agrees to allow the healer to use his powers on her.
Robert returns with his guard and is surprised to see King René, father of his betrothed. With encouragement from Vaudemont, he confesses to the King that he has fallen in love with another woman and could never love anyone else, including René’s daughter, Iolanta. The King cancels the wedding contract, and allows Iolanta to marry Vaudemont, explaining that he only threatened to execute him so that Iolanta would agree to the treatment.
Iolanta returns, and under the power of the healer, she is able to see for the first time, but is unclear if her sight will remain without the healer’s magic hold on her. Vaudemont pledges his undying love to Iolanta, whether she can see or not.
COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
Updated March 11, 2022
Before arriving for the show theatre, please review the following COVID-19 safety guidelines. These requirements are subject to change as new guidelines are issued by the City of Los Angeles and the State of California.
A mask is required for entry into the Aratani Theatre and must be worn at all times.
Guests must present proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test result as well as a matching photo ID upon arrival. Full vaccination is defined as completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered at least two weeks but no more than a year in advance of the performance date. Guests can bring either a paper copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record or a scannable Digital COVID-19 Record from the State of California.
A negative test will be accepted if it is a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event or a COVID-19 Antigen test taken within 24 hours.