“Even if this opera is not accepted as an artwork, it will be for me,” wrote Pyotr Ilyich in a letter to his brother Modest. The original operatic creation The Maid of Orléans (1881, St. Petersburg), written in the style of grand French opera, is the composer's fifth operatic piece and at the same time the first one, premiered outside his native land – in Prague, in 1882. In it, the pseudo-historical background of the story, depicting the fate of the French heroine from the 15th century, is intertwined with a mixture of magnificent luxury and melodramatic passages. The score, conceived for a typical romantic orchestra, as well as the combination of French and German style and modern Russian concert music, also mirrors the composer's vision that the music of the operatic piece should resonate with the wider public. The libretto draws on the source material from the eponymous dramatic text, written by Friedrich Schiller in 1801 as well as on many other sources in the world of art and biographical works. Joan of Arc, who led French troops to victory over England and freed the inhabitants of Orléans during the Hundred Years' War, consequently also contributed to the fact that Charles VII became king of France. Tchaikovsky conceived the tale of the extraordinary woman by upgrading her heroic personality with complex psychological contradictions. In spite of her tragic end, which due to the heroine's world view and many other circumstances became an inevitable fact, the power of her spirit, courage and conviction can serve as great inspiration for all mankind even today.
The performance will be directed by Frank Van Laecke who has already directed on our stage two successful performances Kat'a Kabanova and Lucia di Lammermoor, whereas its music direction will be entrusted to Simon Krečič.
Text: Tatjana Ažman