The Queen of Spades

Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece
as conceived by Gianandrea Noseda
and Denis Krief

Teatro Regio, Thursday 21 May 2009 at 8 pm

La dama di picche, the opera masterpiece by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky on the libretto by his brother Modest from the story of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, will open on Thursday 21 May at Teatro Regio. The new staging of this rarely performed work has been entrusted to Denis Krief; a musician and man of the theatre who distinguishes himself for the originality and depth of interpretation of both classical and contemporary repertoire, Krief will be responsible for the stage direction, sets, costumes and lighting. On the podium is Gianandrea Noseda, an expert in Russian repertoire, the former Principal Guest Conductor at the  Mariinsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg, who will conduct La dama di picche for the first time on stage at the Regio in its original language. The chorus will be directed by Maestro Roberto Gabbiani. Maestro of the Children’s Chorus of the Teatro Regio and the “G. Verdi” Conservatory is Claudio Fenoglio.  The opera will be broadcast live by  Rai Radio3 on 21 May.

La dama di Picche was composed in only 44 days, during the composer’s stay in Florence: the idea of the superintendent of the imperial theatre Ivan Vsevoložskij to base an opera on Pushkin’s story kindled real creative frenzy in the composer. Tchaikovsky also intervened consistently in the writing of the libretto, the work of his brother Modest, in which Pushkin’s original story is greatly modified. To the story of German’s obsession for gambling is superimposed, in Tchaikovsky, his overwhelming passion for Lisa, the granddaughter of the Countess from whom German wants to obtain the secret of the three winning cards, a passion that leads to tragedy with the suicide of Lisa, who throws herself into the Neva, and German, who stabs himself to death.

The opera, premiered triumphantly at the Mariinsky of Saint  Petersburg in 1890, reflects the expressive world of the composer’s late symphonies, to which is added the influence of French grand-opéra, as evidenced by the shifting of Pushkin’s story to the period of Catherine the Great and the consequent development of lavishly spectacular ideas. The conception of separate musical numbers favours the inclusion of numerous descriptive scenes, such as the famous children’s chorus – practically a quote from  Carmen by Bizet, a composer loved by Tchaikovsky -   and the cantata of act II, conceived with a relish for the eighteenth-century pastiche, also typical of Italian composers at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth.

Protagonist of the new Torino staging is an outstanding  cast in which an extraordinary trio of female voices stands out, with German soprano Anja Silja personifying with great charisma the Countess, the charming Bulgarian soprano  Svetla Vassileva (whose interpretation of Rusalka at the Regio  in January 2007 earned her the  prestigious «Premio Abbiati») in the role of the unfortunate Lisa, and Julia Gertseva, the stunning mezzosoprano from Saint Petersburg  (acclaimed interpreter of Tigrana in Edgar last season and   Carmen in 2006) as Polina. The role of the male protagonist, German, will be entrusted to the young and promising Kazakian tenor Maksim Aksenov,  while baritone Vladimir Vaneev, presently soloist at the Teatro Mariinsky, will be Count Tomsky. The Slovakian baritone Jenis Dalibor will take on the part of Prince Yeletsky, the rival – in gambling and love – of German.

Alternating in the principal roles will be Kristine Opolais (Lisa), Kor-Jan Dusseljee (German), Jurij Batukov (Count Tomsky), Vladislav Sulimskij (Prince Yeletsky) e Nadežda Serdjuk (Polina).
La dama di picche, on stage for nine performances through 31 May, will be presented to the public by Giorgio Pestelli in Incontro con l’Opera which will take place at the Piccolo Regio Puccini Wednesday 20 May at 5 pm.

Box Office of the Teatro Regio, piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242 - e-mail -

Torino, 27 March 2009


Paola Giunti
Head of the Presso Office