Pique Dame

Millennium Halls, St Barnabas Church, W5 1QG, Ealing, W5 1QG
Sun 14th July 2019
Obsessive in gambling and in love, the soldier Hermann is the protagonist of Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, based on a story by Pushkin.

In terms of vocal power, lyrical beauty and idiomatic authenticity, the casting for this 1992 live recording of the Kirov production of Pique Dame ("The Queen of Spades") could hardly be bettered. Gegam Grigorian (Herman) hits his fearsome, anguished high notes with the accuracy of a laser and Maria Gulegina (Liza) has a voice the size of the QEII but uses it with great subtlety--her opening duet with Pauline floats like gossamer, and her declarations of love for Herman at the end of Act 1 are spine-tingling. Kirov superstars Sergei Leiferkus (Tomsky) and rich-toned Olga Borodina (Pauline) also sound divine. In the pit Valery Gergiev renders every nuance of Tchaikovsky's score with clarity, and drives the strings to produce an almost unbearably tense atmosphere of foreboding; Herman's manslaughter of the Countess is preceded by shallow, haunted phrases which rise and fall like a beating heart.
Google map static shot of Millennium Halls, St Barnabas Church, W5 1QG, Ealing, W5 1QG
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