- Elena Zaremba (Contralto)
- Mikhail Vekua (Tenor)
- Francisco Vas (Tenor)
- Claudia Schneider (Soprano)
- Ewa Podles (Mezzo Soprano)
- Emily Magee (Soprano)
- Misha Didyk (Tenor)
- Lado Ataneli (Baritone)
- Ludovic Tézier (Baritone)
Notes & Reviews:
Obsessive in gambling and in love, the soldier Hermann is the protagonist of Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, based on a story by Pushkin. He is smitten with the aristocratic Lisa and fixated on learning the winning secret of 'the three cards' from her grandmother, the Countess, played by iconic contralto Ewa Podles. This opulent production from Barcelona's Liceu captures St Petersburg in the era of Catherine the Great, while the house's Music Director Michael Boden conducts a large and impressive cast. "A Voice of Ravishing Luster" (New York Times) American soprano Emily Magee has become recognized as one of the most important new voices of her generation. Her lush, radiant soprano, combined with an artistic intelligence and a vibrant, attractive stage presence has made her in demand in the most important opera houses in the world. She performs on stages throughout the world under the direction of such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Franz Welser-Möst, Riccardo Muti, Donald Runnicles, Antonio Pappano, Zubin Mehta, Christian Thielemann, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Simone Young, Daniele Gatti, among others. Her wide ranging repertoire includes works from Britten to Zandonai, concentrating primarily on the works of Richard Strauss, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, and Janácek. She has appeared in many of the major opera houses of the world, including London, Vienna, Milan, Paris, Berlin, Zürich, Munich, Barcelona, Chicago, San Francisco, as well as the renowned Festivals of Bayreuth and Salzburg.
American Record Guide
The Liceu has signed an impressive international cast. Hermann, the principal tenor role, is a voice-killer often undertaken by burley tenors. There is much luxury in the vocalism of the two baritones, Ataneli and Tezier as well. Not that Emily Magee is going to let the gentlemen be center of attention. She too has the vocal beef to get through a long evening of heavy-duty singing. And she does it with much beauty, style, and grace... here we see one of the most powerful singers of our day and still in her prime. Ewa Podles, she of the Great Earth Mother voice, brings many a nuance to the role, scaling back her massive voice, then lets it rip as needed. She is a most powerful actress too. The rest of the extensive cast fare quite well, but an extra word of praise is necessary for Zaremba's Pauline.
Watching this DVD reawakened me to the dramatic and musical treasures of what must surely be Tchaikovsky's greatest opera (with apologies to Onegin fans). This is an ideal way to introduce the opera to someone for the first time, and a great way for established Tchaikovskians to remind themselves just how great it is.
More tantalizing still the telecast 's 1999 setting of Elijah Moshinsky with Placido Domingo, Elisabeth Söderström Galina Gorchakova and is the premiere of the same with Valery Gergiev in 1995 directing Heppner, Mattila, Hvorostovsky and the incomparable Leonie Rysanek in their last , remembered appearance in the room. If there is such a film, no doubt it would be the ace up the sleeve of the enigmatic Lady
Lado Ataneli's Tomsky is a fine interpretation, his bright voice standing up well; and Ludovic Tezier as Yeletsky truly shines in his aria. Almost walking away with the show is Ewa Podles as the Old Countess. Today, this part is mostly taken by sopranos on their way out, singing in slim but characterful voices. Podles, on the other hand, is in full control of her considerable resources, the voice booming when it must and scaled back for her lovely ballad. Her stupendous overacting in her death scene is camp of the highest level; helped by the lighting (by Albert Faura), she is a one-woman Halloween party. The rest of the cast is excellent, with Elena Zaremba a particularly fine Pauline.
Run Time: 183 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan
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Works DetailsTchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades)
- Performers: Elena Zaremba (Contralto); Mikhail Vekua (Tenor); Francisco Vas (Tenor); Ludovic Tézier (Baritone); Claudia Schneider (Soprano); Ewa Podles (Mezzo Soprano); Emily Magee (Soprano); Misha Didyk (Tenor); Lado Ataneli (Baritone)
- Conductor: Michael Boder
- Ensemble: Gran Teatre del Liceu Chorus
- Period Time: Romantic
- Written: 1890