“Iolanta” by Peter Tchaikovsky and “Dolls” by Joseph Roth Directed by Lydia Steier





interpolation, opera text, literary opera, director’s opera, interpretation, P. Tchaikovsky’s opera “Iolanta” directed by Lydia Steier


Relevance of the study. In modern opera directing, the phenomenon of interpolation is becoming more and more frequent. These are text inserts that do not belong to the author; they are not in the original work. So interpolation, as an element of interpretation, has not yet attracted the attention of researchers. In the field of modern opera directing, interpolation as an element of interpretation has not yet been included in the research interests and initially introduced as a study object in Ukrainian musicology.

Main objective of the study is to examine and evaluate the phenomenon of interpolation based on the interpretation of P. Tchaikovsky’s opera “Iolanta” by the Frankfurt Opera. The director Lydia Steier knows for radical interpretations of classic operas, combining Tchaikovsky’s opera text with the literary text of Joseph Roth’s story “Dolls”. The interpolation of a literary text on the level of “a new plot” in addition to the composer’s original intention provided the reason to use a comparative research methodology.

During the analysis process, the facts of a paradoxical discrepancy between the ideas of the opera text and the ideas of the literary source by Joseph Roth were examined. In the version by Lydia Steier, the opera “Iolanta” loses the sacred meaning of opera through mystical healing, but consequently develops a series of psychoanalytic thoughts. The heroes of Tchaikovsky’s opera have the traumatic experience of an incestuous relationship that leads to suicide instead of healing. Causes of Blindness Iolanta is considered a phenomenon of psychosomatic medicine. Such a format for the interpretation of an opera text complicates the traditional triad considerably: the text is read through the prism of the interpretation of contexts, the understanding is interpreted through and about possible relationships between the text of the composer and the interpolation, the reproduction develops into a transformation, which ultimately leads to a distortion of the meaning of P. Tchaikovsky’s opera.

The results of directorial artifacts create a situation of pseudo-reception of opera texts that are not popular and do not appear in the repertoire of the opera house. Strangers for “Iolanta” interpolation of the story “Dolls” by Joseph Roth from the series “Berlin and its surroundings”, provokes the content of “Iolanta” by Tchaikovsky to be understood as the fact of an incestuous connection between daughter and father. The discussions about the importance of the radical reception of opera texts and the problems of their artistic and aesthetic impact on the modern audience remain open.

Author Biography

Adelina Yefimenko, Mykola Lysenko National Music Academy

Doctor of Art Criticism, Professor at the Department at the Mykola Lysenko National Music Academy, Lviv (Ukraine), at the Ukrainian Free University (Munich, Germany)


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Problem field of modern musicology: from phenomenology to comparative studies