The single-act lyric opera Iolanta, Op 69, is the last opera written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto, by the composer's brother Modest, is based on the play Kong Renés Datter (King Réne's Daughter) by Danish poet Henrik Hertz. The play is the romanticised story of the early life of Yolande (1428-1483), Duchess of Lorraine. There is no evidence that Yolande was ever blind, although this is important in the opera, where she has been blind from birth, and then recovers her sight.
Tchaikovsky began writing the opera in 1891, and it received its first performance in St Petersburg on 18 December 1892, as a double bill with the composer's ballet The Nutcracker. The opera's first performance outside of Russia came soon after, in Hamburg, on 3 January 1893.
There is no connection between Tchaikovsky's opera and the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Iolanthe, although Iolanthe is the name used in the original Danish play.
A selection of M&V articles about Iolanta
Ensemble. Sublime Romanticism - Valery Gergiev conducts Tchaikovsky's 'Iolanta', impressing Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Precursor to Decadentism - Tchaikovsky's 'Iolanta' in Florence, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Thought Provoking Combination - Iolanta and Bluebeard in high definition from New York, reviewed by Maria Nockin