CHICAGO (2/14/20) — The impetuous, unstable Gherman is obsessed – with gambling, with Lisa (who’s engaged to Yeletsky), and with the secret of winning at cards, which is closely held by Lisa’s grandmother, an elderly countess. His all-consuming passion eclipses his sense of reason and reality at a terrible price.
This production of The Queen of Spades combines gothic horror and innovative staging to bring new, unnerving life to Tchaikovsky’s terrifying tale, updating the setting from the late 1700s to the 1930s. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich portrays Gherman, an officer of modest means, who burns with unrequited love for Lisa (soprano Sondra Radvanovsky). Her grandmother, the mysterious Countess (mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel, Lyric debut), coincidentally holds the card-winning secret. Lisa’s friend Pauline (mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, a Ryan Opera Center alumna) notices Lisa is distracted at a gathering of their girlfriends and tries to cheer her with a song. Gherman eventually manages to win Lisa away from her fiancé, Prince Yeletsky (baritone Lucas Meachem), but cannot resist the draw of the gambling house, joined by his friend and fellow officer Tomsky (bass Samuel Youn). His unraveling mind drives him to desperate acts and leads to a series of tragic disasters, all propelled by Tchaikovsky’s brilliant music.
Sir Andrew Davis, who began his first season as music director at Lyric in 2000 with this opera, conducts this new-to-Chicago production, created by director Richard Jones, which won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Opera and the Barclays Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Ben Davis is the revival director. Production design is by John Macfarlane; the original lighting designs by Jennifer Tipton are recreated by revival lighting designer Chris Marevich. The Lyric Opera Chorus is prepared by chorus master Michael Black.
View Lyric’s The Queen of Spades program book here.
View Lyric’s The Queen of Spades music information summary here.
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Performance dates for The Queen of Spades are February 15, 19, 23, and 26 and March 1 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N Wacker Dr., Chicago. Performance times vary.
For tickets and information call 312.827.5600 or go to lyricopera.org/spades. College students who are registered with Lyric’s NEXT student ticket program can buy tickets for just $20. Discount tickets are available for children accompanied by adult ticket holders by calling 312.827.5600.
The Queen of Spades is performed in Russian with projected English translations. Estimated running time is 3 hours 45 minutes, including two intermissions.
Please be advised, Queen of Spades contains mature themes.