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PreviousMarch 1970



Act I

The opera begins with an invisible choir singing a "Hymn to the Sun," the second best-known piece in the opera.

Iris, the young and innocent daughter of a blind old man, Il Cieco, lives happily, enjoying the sun and the simple things of nature. Osaka, a young lord in search of adventures, plans to kidnap her with the help of Kyoto who keeps a geisha house. During a puppet show, Osaka enters disguised as a child of the sun, singing the serenade "Apri la tua finestra [Open Your Window]," the most famous selection in the opera. He conquers the heart of Iris, and Samurai carry her off, conducting her to Kyoto's geisha house called Yoshiwara. Before leaving, Kyoto anonymously leaves money on Il Cieco's doorstep, as well as a note telling him where she has gone and implying that she has abandoned him.


Act II

At Yoshiwara, where, according to the libretto, the sun never penetrates, Iris wakes up under the illusion of having died and gone to Paradise. Osaka arrives and tries to seduce her but fails to persuade her to yield to his advances. Tired and annoyed by her simplicity and innocence, Osaka tells Kyoto to get rid of her. Instead Kyoto, hoping to make some profit off of Iris, exposes her to the crowds on a balcony of the house. Il Cieco, having assumed that Iris went to the geisha house of her own accord, comes there. He curses her, repeatedly flinging mud in her face. She is overwhelmed by sudden madness at her father's incomprehensible actions. Before anyone, including the remorse-stricken Osaka who has returned, can stop her, Iris rushes back into the house and throws herself down a shaft leading to a sewer.



The next morning in the sewer, ragpickers begin stealing Iris' silken clothing; she revives, frightening away the ragpickers. She quickly becomes delirious and imagines that she hears the voices of the three men, first Osaka, then Kyoto, and finally Il Cieco, each mocking her. She rejoices when she feels the warm rays of the rising sun, accompanied by a return of the "Hymn to the Sun," and she dies. Tendrils of flowers bear the soul of Iris to heaven.

Program and cast

Artistic Team

Conductor I Evelino Pidó

Chorus Master I Andrés Máspero


Blind Man I Fernando Radó

Iris I Ermonela Jaho

Osaka I Leonardo Capalbo

Kyoto I Gabriele Viviani

Dhia/ Geisha I Miren Urbieta- Vega

Mercader/ Mendigo I Vicençe Esteve

Teatro Real

The Teatro Real is Spain's leading opera house. It is considered to be the top institution in the country in the music and performing arts field. 

The Teatro Real Foundation is chaired by the King and Queen of Spain. It relies on two public administrations that took part in its creation: the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, and the Comunidad de Madrid (Regional Government of Madrid). The Foundation is governed by a Board of 31 trustees. The Board of Trustees elects the President of Board and the Executive Commission as proposed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The Foundation is a public entity and there is an important role played by civil society in its governance and sponsorship. 

The objective of the Teatro Real is to create a venue for the most talented singers, conductors ands stage directors from around the world. Its artistic mission is expressed in programming which seeks excellence by combining classical and contemporary lyrical repertory to appeal to audiences of all ages and interests. Introducing young people and children to opera is of particular concern. All this, along with the Principal Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, the most up to date technological expertise and the large number of in house productions on stages around the world has firmly positioned the Teatro Real in Spain and abroad. 

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