A really wonderful production of one of Tchaikovsky's best operas
The Queen of Spades is one of Tchaikovsky's best operas, I may prefer Eugene Onegin just a tad but Queen of Spades is a very close second. This is a wonderful production, and one of the better Queen of Spades productions there is. I need to re-watch the Bolshoi production but I remember it being excellent, likewise with Kirov, though the 1961 film directed by Tikhimirov is great too. Visually it is full of elaborate and almost expressionistic detail, which makes it very interesting to watch, and the staging is appropriately intimate. Musically, the orchestral playing is a good mix of lush and hair-raising and while Andrew Davis' tempos are on the slow side they are perhaps purposeful to reflect Herman's increasing madness and if so it was one that paid off. The singing is superb, the top plaudits going to Yuri Marusin. Herman is a role that is large and demanding, and Marusin sings with obsessed intensity and the hostile and defiant sound of his voice suited the character wonderfully. Dimitri Kharitonov's Prince is noble and movingly sorrowful and Sergei Leiferkus' singing here is one of his most rounded overall. Nancy Gustafson sings beautifully and her Lisa is hugely compelling, while Felicity Palmer's Countess is terrifying and very richly sung. All in all, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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