Oper

The Queen of Spades

Pjotr I. Tschaikowsky

Opera in three acts and seven scenes Libretto by Modest I. Tschaikowsky

Premiere 1. July 2023

Performed in Russian with German and English surtitles

 
Info

  • Free introductory talk
  • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up
    Info

    • Free introductory talk
    • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

    • Post-Show Discussion following the performance (free admission).

    • Guided tour through the Semperoper
      Info

      • Free introductory talk
      • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

      • Guided tour through the Semperoper
        Info

        • Free introductory talk
        • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

        • Guided tour through the Semperoper
          Info

          • Free introductory talk
          • held in the Semper Opera House cellar 45 minutes before curtain-up

          • Guided tour through the Semperoper
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            The piece is also part of

              Sub / Packages
              Sub / Packages

            The piece is also part of

            In »The Queen of Spades« (»Pique Dame«), Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky is unsparing in his depiction of Hermann’s inner conflict between his unconditional love for Lisa and his manic addiction to gambling, with which he hopes to become rich and gain acceptance into the upper echelons of society. First performed in St. Petersburg in 1890, the opera is both musically and dramaturgically reminiscent of grand opéra due to its monumental scenes such as the St. Petersburg summer garden; the large-scale choral scenes are, however, contrasted with the intimate psychological drama of the protagonists. Just like Tchaikovsky’s first Pushkin setting »Eugene Onegin«, his penultimate opera »Pique Dame«, based on the story of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, was a smash hit. As Tchaikovsky noted: »Perhaps I am completely mistaken, but I believe »Pique Dame« to be my chef d’œuvre«. The opera, which has previously been performed in Dresden’s opera house in 1929 and 1947, will be staged by the renowned film and opera director Andreas Dresen in his very first production for the Semperoper. 

            Plot

            Act one
            Children are playing, women and men are strolling through a summer garden, officers are talking. Only Herman, the Russian officer of German descent, is unable to enjoy the glorious spring day. Because of his precarious financial situation, he feels like an outsider in fashionable St. Petersburg. In addition, he is unhappily in love with the noblewoman Liza, who has already been promised to Prince Yeletsky. His friend Count Tomsky tells the officers the story of Liza’s grandmother. The Countess–whom people call the »Queen of Spades«–knows a secret to winning a three-card game. So far she has entrusted her knowledge to her husband and to a young lover. However, the prophecy is grim for the third person who will demand the secret from her: namely, it will bring him death. While the listeners laugh, Herman is very interested in the story. Polina and other friends want to celebrate Liza’s engagement with her, but Liza is thoughtful and sad. After everyone has left, Herman suddenly appears and tells her how much he loves her. She too can no longer hide her feelings for him.

            Act two
            The engagement between Liza and Prince Yeletsky is to be celebrated at a masked ball. But Liza seems sad again. A pastoral is performed as an intermezzo which metaphorically portrays the triangular conflict between Liza and the two men. Liza makes an appointment with Herman to meet him secretly at night. In order for Herman to see her, he has to cross the Countess’s room. When the Countess returns to her room, they meet, and when Herman demands, with a pistol, that she reveal the secret of the three cards, the old lady dies of fright. Liza rushes in and is horrified to discover that his primary interest has been the game and not her.

            Act three
            Herman loses himself in delusions, and in a nightmare he learns the three winning cards: three, seven, and ace. Liza wants to talk to Herman at a nighttime meeting. When midnight strikes and Herman doesn’t show up, she is bitterly disappointed that his gambling obsession has left him with eyes only for possible wealth and fame, and she throws herself to her death. In the casino Herman is eager to try his luck with the knowledge of the three cards. He wins twice, but loses everything on the third card: instead of the ace, he holds the queen of spades in his hand. Succumbing to madness, the dead Countess appears to him one last time; finally he dies. 

            Related events

            Performance

            11 am 
            Zentralbibliothek im Kulturpalast

            Pique Dame: From Pushkin via Tchaikovsky to Andreas Dresen

            A symposium on Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky’s »Pique Dame« In cooperation with Dresden Municipal Libraries

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