The Queen of Spades is Tchaikovsky’s most ambitious opera and has received star treatment at London’s Royal Opera House in Stefan Herheim’s staging, with a cast including Eva-Maria Westbroek, Felicity Palmer and Aleksandrs Antonenko.
The three-act opera premiered in 1890 in St Petersburg, Russia after Tchaikovsky completed the full score of the opera in just 44 days while in Florence.
The Russian composer began work on The Queen of Spades, basing it on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, one of his favourite writers. He and his brother Modest (his co-librettist) dramatically altered Pushkin’s plot, turning lead character Gherman, from a cynical opportunist into an ardent lover and Liza into a tragic figure.
Today, the opera presents one of Tchaikovsky’s most impressive and varied scores, containing grand choruses, intimate arias and duets, such as Liza and Gherman’s passionate Act I love duet, a masquerade paying tribute to Mozart and a terrifying supernatural episode.
Stefan Herheim’s production has been described as “spectacular”, and places Tchaikovsky himself at the heart of the action asking questions about the nature of creativity and the parallels between life and art.
Audiences in Cyprus will have a chance to catch a screening of the opera on February 10 to witness Peter Wright’s choreography and Philipp Fürhofer’s design.
The Queen of Spades
Broadcast of Tchaikovsky’s opera from London’s Royal Opera House. February 10. Pantheon Art Cinema, Nicosia. 5pm and 8pm. Tickets: www.soldoutticketbox.com, selected ‘So Easy’ kiosks and at Pantheon Theatre. Tel: 22-675787