Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades is about obsession. The opera is a thriller about the madness of gambling. It is a story about what happens when you become so obsessed with a thing that you lose it: money, love, sanity itself. The music takes us to Russian ballrooms – but also shows us lust, obsession, deception and the darkest facets of humanity. Passion and drama in the flickering light of a candelabra.
We find ourselves in St. Petersburg at the end of the 1700s. Herman has fallen for a young woman he has seen. He is an outsider, unable to find his place in society. Lisa is granddaughter to a Duchess and engaged to a prince. Despite her being far above his station, Hermann finds hope when he discovers that Lisa’s grandmother was, in her youth, a masterful card player. The duchess knew that with three specific cards – a three, a seven and an ace – she would win. She tells this secret to two men. But it was presaged that if she were to tell the secret a third time, terrible fates would fall. Herman’s obsession shifts from Lisa, to the three cards.
The Queen of Spades premièred in 1890 and was to be Tchaikovsky’s penultimate opera, but also his personal favourite. Here he demonstrates how he can juggle a range of musical styles, from a play on 1700’s rococo to large impressionistic choral movements. The music shifts seamlessly between the diverse sides of Hermann’s split soul.
Queen of spades
Original title: Pikovaya dama
Music: Pjotr Tsjajkovskij
Libretto: Modest Tsjajkovskij
Musical direction: Lothar Koenigs, Jørn Fossheim (25/9)
Direction: Arnaud Bernard
Scenography: Alessandro Camera
With: Opera Orchestra and Opera Choir
Performed in Russian with Norwegian and English subtitles.
- Last Updated: 05/09/2018
- Source: VisitOSLO as
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