Iolanta in Baden-Baden is truly a must-see. It is an opera that resembles a Fabergé egg: an enchanting, priceless, conservative antipole to the economy of the practical. Tchaikovsky's fairy tale anticipates Symbolism and Art Nouveau. The composer's Russia also left traces in Baden-Baden, for example the city’s Orthodox Church. The muted gold of its onion-domed tower finds its musical counterpart in the master's orchestral play of colors. Otherwise, the opera had little to do with the outside world and was intended as a decorative piece to reflect the royal luxury of the Tsar's court. The Russian delight in color, glitter, and opulence has served historically as a catalyst for a different, often overlooked and luxurious modernity, with Tchaikovsky as its melancholy prophet.
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