Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Karita Mattila and Vladimir Galouzine in The Queen of Spades Karita Mattila and Vladimir Galouzine in The Queen of Spades (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Karita Mattila returns to the Met stage in Tchaikovsky's dramatic thriller, The Queen of Spades. With tenor Vladimir Galouzine as the conniving Hermann and mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as the beleaguered Countess, Tchaikovsky's 10th opera is considered one of the masterworks of the Russian repertoire.

Mattila made her Met debut in 1990 in the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and has since become a mainstay of the Met stage, performing the title role in Salome, Elsa in Lohengrin, Manon in Manon Lescaut, Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's other best known opera, Eugene Onegin, and as Tosca in the Met's controversial new production directed by Luc Bondy, which had its premiere in 2009. Mattila made her Met role debut as Lisa in The Queen of Spades in 1995.

The Queen of Spades, based on Pushkin's short story of the same name, had its world premiere in 1890 in St. Petersburg and, at the Met, its American premiere in 1910. While widely considered a classic in Russia, the opera has not achieved the same renown worldwide, though a 1950 Covent Garden revival and later mid-60s revival at the Met have helped to raise the opera's favor. The current production at the Met is a revival of Elijah Moshinsky's work, which had its premiere at the house on October 26, 1995.

Tchaikovsky wrote The Queen of Spades at breakneck speed, finishing it in only 44 days. The composer completed 10 operas in his life, though one is lost and another, The Voyevoda, Tchaikovsky mostly destroyed, leaving behind only sketches that his former pupils and archivists have since cobbled together.

Cast and credits:

Conductor: Andris Nelsons
Lisa: Karita Mattila
Pauline: Tamara Mumford
The Countess: Dolora Zajick
Hermann: Vladimir Galouzine
Tomsky: Alexey Markov
Yeletsky: Peter Mattei
Production: Elijah Moshinsky

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Comments [5]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NJ

Today's performance is another proof of the Met Opera's depth in top-notch casting.
Few opera companies can command the resources and also have the cachet to attract the very best active on the world scene. Kudos to the Met and the performers and all involved in again demonstrating how great is the masterpiece we have heard today.

Mar. 26 2011 06:42 PM
LUIS MORENO from mexico

super lovely opera !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! very talented people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar. 26 2011 01:37 PM
EugeneKordahl from NEW ORLEANS, LA

I will vote for a brief, but cogent synopsis of each opera from you professionals. The Queen of Spades is a most ignored but gracefully beautiful piece that Tchaikovsky wrote in the field of opera. Perhaps if the listener that tunes into this page could gain a better understanding of the piece, the enjoyment would even be greater. Keep up the good work of protecting our treasured 'QXR. Eugene B. Kordahl

Mar. 26 2011 01:28 PM
Tyler Clark from Princeton

Hey Hendrik, You can find lots of synopses on a Google Search, or check the Met Opera's page, they have a good synopsis there too.

Mar. 26 2011 12:51 PM
Hendrik Sadi

Why don't you write a short synopsis of the operas that are going to be performed?

Hendrik E. Sadi
Yonkers, NY

Mar. 26 2011 09:29 AM

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