March 20 and 27 at 3pm

March 26 at 7:30pm

Aratani Theatre
244 San Pedro St

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Director:  Josh Shaw

Conductor:  Isaac Selya

Assist. Conductor:  Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad

Costumes:  Maggie Green

Iolanta:  Cristina Jones

King Rene: Andrew Potter

Robert:  Simon Barrad

Ibn-Hakia:  Adam Cioffari

Martha:  Megan Potter

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 Adam Cioffari 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. Opening night (3pm show) has an option for special $100 tickets, which include a reception with the artists after the show. 


Blind from birth, Iolanta has grown up in an enclosed garden near the castle of her father, King Rene. The king has managed to keep Iolanta unaware of her blindness and her caretakers wait on her hand and foot; despite this, Iolanta cannot help but feel that she is missing something precious. Soon Iolanta is visited by the king, bringing with him Ibn-Hakia, a doctor who is confident he can restore Iolanta’s sight, but only if she is first made aware of her blindness. The king refuses this, fearing that failure would bring Iolanta great sorrow after learning that she cannot see. Soon the court is visited by Duke Robert, who is betrothed to Iolanta, and his friend, Count Vaudemont. Robert expresses his desire to be free from his engagement, as he has fallen in love with a countess. When Vaudemont finds his way to Iolanta’s garden, where he finds her sleeping, he falls in love with her; Robert leaves to bring Vaudemont assistance when he believes his friend has been enchanted by Iolanta. When the girl awakes, Vaudemont asks her to give him a red rose and, when she twice hands him a white rose, realizes that she is blind. The king soon discovers the lovers, and readies to execute Vaudemont for not only entering the secret garden, but for sharing with Iolanta the knowledge of her blindness. To spare him from execution, Iolanta readies herself to undergo Ibn-Hakia’s treatment, although she is unsure if she even wants to be able to see or not. While the treatment happens, the king explains to Vaudemont in private that his fury was necessary for Iolanta to make a decision, and he dissolves the marriage contract between her and Duke Robert. Does the treatment work? You’ll have to come to this special production to find out.