Opera

Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades

Graham Vick (stage director), Sir Andrew Davis (conductor) — With Nancy Gustafson (Lisa), Yuri Marusin (Herman), Felicity Palmer (The Countess)...

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Cast

Graham Vick — Stage director

Thomas Webster — Lighting

Richard Hudson — Set designer

Ron Howell — Choreographer

Yuri Marusin — Herman

Nancy Gustafson — Lisa

Felicity Palmer — The Countess

Sergei Leiferkus — Count Tomsky

Dimitri Kharitonov — Prince Yeletsky

Graeme Matheson-Bruce — Tchekalinsky

Andrew Slater — Surin

Robert Burt — Tchaplitsky

Christopher Thornton-Holmes — Narumov

Marie-Ange Todorovitch — Lisa's friend

Enid Hartle — The Governess

Anne Dawson — Chloë

Geoffrey Pogson — Master of Ceremonies

Program notes

The unforgettable Nancy Gustavson gives life to Lisa, the unlucky lover of Hermann in the tragic story of The Queen of spades.

Herman, a young officer, is in love with an unknown woman from the nobility. The beautiful young lady eventually appears to be Lisa, the fiancée of Prince Yeletski, Herman's army friend. But Lisa is unhappy with this engagement imposed on her. She prefers the romantic personality of Herman. Herman and Lisa meet in secret and declare their undying love to each other. But Herman has no money. What to do? Lisa's grandmother, the Countess, is said to know the secret to win without fail at card games. Breaking into the old woman's room, Herman begs the Countess to reveal her secret. Terrified by the threatening young man, the Countess dies. Lisa, walking into the room, discovers her lover in front of her grandmother's corpse. Crying, she beseeches Hermann to leave at once. The Countess' ghost appears to Hermann, and reveals to the young man the secret: the three winning cards are three, seven and ace. After a last meeting with Hermann, Lisa realizes that there is no hope for to have the love she desires so jumps into the Neva. Herman, in a state of madness, goes to the casino and bets everything he owns. He loses everything. The last winning card was not an ace, but the queen of spades.

Inspired by the The Queen of spades written by Alexander Pushkin, Tchaikovski's opera was premiered in Saint Petersburg in 1890. The Queen of Spades is an intense work in which death seems to be the unavoidable outcome. The remarkable production by Graham Vick plunges the spectator into the desperate love struggle between the innocent Lisa and Hermann, a dark character who steadily advances towards madness.

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