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The Queen of Spades: Bolshoi Opera (1983)

| Music | Video 1983
It is rare when four of the Bolshoi's greatest stars appear together in their home theatre in one of Russian opera's masterpieces. The opera was Tchaikovsky's, The Queen Of Spades, (Pique ... See full summary »


Alexander Pushkin (based on the short story of the same name by), Modest Tchaikovsky (libretto)


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Credited cast:
Yelena Obraztsova Yelena Obraztsova ... Old Countess
Juri Mazurok Juri Mazurok ... Yeletski
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vladimir Atlantov Vladimir Atlantov ... Herman
Tamara Malashkina Tamara Malashkina ... Lisa


It is rare when four of the Bolshoi's greatest stars appear together in their home theatre in one of Russian opera's masterpieces. The opera was Tchaikovsky's, The Queen Of Spades, (Pique Dame). With a libretto written by the composer's brother, Modest, this tale of terror, with a plot involving obsessive love and gambling, hallucinations and descent into madness never fails to have a profound effect on its audience. The Bolshoi's production is riveting, with sumptuous sets and costumes, and the famed Bolshoi chorus and corps de ballet are at their most elegant and spectacular. Written by G. Forman

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Soviet Union



Release Date:

1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Пиковая дама See more »

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User Reviews

Mostly compelling stuff
11 September 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The Queen of Spades is one of Tchaikovsky's best works. In regard to his operas, I have more of a preference to Eugene Onegin but Queen of Spades is perhaps his most dramatically concise. This production from Bolshoi is very good and compelling. I personally do put the 1961 Tikhamirov film and the Felicty Palmer- as Countess- production over this one, but really stood out here was how authentic it sounded and looked, sounding and looking very Russian.

I found it a very elegant production to look at. The set design for Lisa's Act 3 scene on the bank of the canal is particularly splendid. The costumes are similarly costumes especially the Countess and Yeletsky's, and the dancing is fabulous. The orchestral playing has the lushness and power you would expect from any orchestra performing Tchaikovsky or any other late romantic. The first clarinet is especially good. Yuri Simonov's conducting is full of passion or spirit, nothing rushes or drags. The staging is compelling especially in Herman's soliloquy and in the card scene.

As for the performances they are very good. Particularly good is Elena Obraztsova's Countess, she is very intimidating and there is a rich fullness to her voice. Vladimir Atlantov I have often encountered criticisms of him being overly-stentorian. I can understand that, I find his singing thrilling and very strong though in want of more nuances. Dramatically he is right on the money, Herman's descent into madness is very intense. Tamara Milashkina is a vocally alluring Lisa, and there are times where she is authoritative and movingly melancholic. However, overall dramatically she is rather static, a little too stand-and-deliver and somewhat stereotypical too often. Yuri Mazourk is a passionate and eloquent Yeletsky, though some of his singing could have had more warmth and beauty to it.

Overall, compellingly authentic stuff if not my favourite. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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