Pique Dame

 

Tchaikovsky Pique Dame opera (The Queen of Spades) to a libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky. Directed 2016 by Stefan Herheim at the Dutch National Opera. Stars Misha Didyk (Herman), Alexey Markov (Count Tomsky/Plutus), Vladimir Stoyanov (Prince Yeletsky), Andrei Popov (Chekalinsky), Andrii Goniukov (Surin), Mikhail Makarov (Chaplitsky), Anatoli Sivko (Narumov), Larissa Diadkova (The Countess), Svetlana Aksenova (Liza), and Anna Goryachova (Polina/Daphnis). Mariss Jansons conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Chrous of the Dutch National Opera (Chorus Master Ching-Lien Wu), and the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor (Chorus Master Caro Kindt). Decor and costumes by Philipp Fürhoffer; lighting by Bernd Purkrabek. Directed for TV by Misjel Vermeiren. Released 2017, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

Mark Pullinger writes a perceptive review of this title in the March 2018 Gramophone, page 90, where he explains how director Stefan Herheim converts the character of Prince Yeletsky into the persona of Tchaikovsky himself as outsider (suppressed homosexual). "Herheim has Tchaikovsky everywhere---the male chorus are clones, Polina wears an identical grey flannel suit as a youthful composer, and even Herman seems a straggly-haired, middle-aged version." Pullinger also praises the singers, especially Stoyanov (for singing and acting), and the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Jansons. Pullinger saw this live and he also approves the video as a "terrific momento." Steven Jude Tietjen in the July 2018 Opera News (pages 52-53) is full of praise for this "dizzying, labyrinthine narrative" stating that the production is at times "utterly puzzling, but also as riveting as it is thought-provoking." So put this title high on your "to see list." (And be prepared to do your homework before watching it multiple times!)

Here's an official trailer (for the live show, not the video) starting off with a herd of Tchaikovskys: