The Palau de les Arts applauds the most visionary Tchaikovsky | Culture | EUROtoday

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Vótkinsk, 1840 – Saint Petersburg, 1893) is commonly known as a conservative. A composer who wrote fairy story ballets, sentimental operas and saccharine symphonies, however who was revered by Russian Symbolists as a modernist seer. Richard Taruskin remembered it, in 1993, in some notes to the program of The queen of spadesat the San Francisco Opera, with a greater than provocative title: A masterpiece of musical surrealism.

Richard Jones will need to have learn this textual content by Taruskin when he was making ready his well-known manufacturing of Tchaikovsky’s penultimate opera. A tense, obsessive and sardonic staging, which premiered at the Welsh National Opera in September 2000, and which has traveled half the world till shortly earlier than the outbreak of the pandemic, when it may very well be seen at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

The Palau de Les Arts in Valencia has simply premiered it in Spain as the opening of its new season in a revival of Benjamin Davis. A curious reference to the Barcelona Lyceum, which has chosen Tchaikovsky’s different nice title primarily based on Pushkin as its opening, Eugene Onegin, and in one other daring manufacturing by Christof Loy (the composer’s third title primarily based on the Moscow poet and playwright, Mazzepatook to a Spanish stage for the first and solely time at the opening of the 2016-17 season at Campoamor in Oviedo).

Soprano Elena Guseva, baritone Andrei Kymach, soprano Doris Soffel and tenor Arsen Soghomonyan during the first act of 'The Queen of Spades', last Sunday in Valencia.
Soprano Elena Guseva, baritone Andrei Kymach, soprano Doris Soffel and tenor Arsen Soghomonyan throughout the first act of ‘The Queen of Spades’, final Sunday in Valencia.
©Miguel Lorenzo/Mikel Ponce (©Miguel Lorenzo/Mikel Ponce)

Yes, in Eugene Oneginthe narrative voice and its musical side are life like (therefore the threat that Loy’s dreamlike proposal takes), in The queen of spades, the motion is full of a hallucinatory environment. In truth, Tchaikovsky intensified that environment in the plentiful retouching that he made, with the assist of his brother Modest, in the operatic adaptation of Pushkin’s story, a maneuver the place he approached the pre-symbolist environment of The bronze horseman.

Taruskin explains that the principal “hallucinogen” of this opera will not be the concord however the orchestration. We noticed it yesterday, Sunday, October 1, in the spectacular scene that opens the third act. Herman remembers the outdated countess’s funeral, with a disconcerting mixture of orthodox songs and navy touches, on and off stage, alternately supported by string and woodwind. An environment so novel that even Rimsky-Korsakov thought-about it orchestrated backwards. But the pressure grows with out stopping till the look of the ghost of the outdated girl who reveals the secret of the three letters on which the complete drama of the opera hangs.

Jones composes it with a scenography in a top-down shot the place we see Herman’s mattress and, subsequent to it, the specter of the countess transformed into the gigantic puppet of a skeleton. The play of views and the claustrophobic environment, additionally in the park scene in the first act, improve John Macfarlane’s gloomy set design, the place all the things finally ends up piling up at the finish. And Chris Pirie’s marionettes and puppets brilliantly resolve the Mozartian neoclassical interlude of the second act, whereas growing the dose of unreality.

A moment from the festive scene of the second act, of 'The Queen of Spades', last Sunday at the Palau de Les Arts.
A second from the festive scene of the second act, of ‘The Queen of Spades’, final Sunday at the Palau de Les Arts.©Miguel Lorenzo/Mikel Ponce (©Miguel Lorenzo/Mikel Ponce)

But the psychodramatic depth that Jones provides to every character stands out. A disturbed portrait of the poor officer Herman, which brings him nearer to the soldier protagonist of Wozzeck, by Berg, and an oppressive setting the place neither the deplorable Count Tomsky is his confidant nor the blurred Prince Ieletsky his rival. Lisa and the countess act motivated by the identical attraction and worry in direction of Herman. And the refrain facilitates the contrasts whereas underlining the dreamlike. We noticed the lowest level, nonetheless, in the last scene the place the environment overflows with testosterone and pointless homoerotic humiliation is added in the type of a ballet.

The musical course of James Gaffigan, head of the Valencian Opera, linked with the grotesque and visionary tone of the scene. The supernatural storm stood out in the first act, in the second he elevated the supposed Mozartian solecisms with curiosity and dealt with the contrasts effectively, however the three scenes in the third act had been the better of the complete night. Starting with the hallucinatory environment of the look of the countess’ ghost, the intense destruction of Lisa and Herman together with the diversified last scene in the playing home.

The Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana as soon as once more demonstrated that it’s the greatest Spanish opera ensemble, alternating depth and wonder. The Choir of the Generalitat Valenciana shone in every of its interventions, particularly in the festive scene of the second act. And a point out for the Escolania de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats and the Choral School Voices Together in the opening scene the place Tchaikovsky evokes the starting of Carmenby Bizet, at the request of the director of the Imperial Theaters, Ivan Vsevolozhsky.

The musical course of James Gaffigan, head of the Valencian Opera, linked with the grotesque and visionary tone of the scene.”

The intensive vocal forged maintained a excessive musical and appearing degree. Armenian tenor Arsen Soghomonyan was an agonizing and highly effective Herman. With a darkish voice and ample stream, he impressed in his troublesome intervention in the storm scene with an imposing excessive pure B on the phrase moyei (mine). And he arrived complete toasts finale after collaborating in all the scenes of the opera. The Russian baritone Andrei Kymach was additionally an imposing Count Tomski and drew the first applause of the night time together with his model of the well-known ballad about the legend of the three playing cards. Less engaging was the baritone Nikolay Zemlianskikh, as Prince Ieletski, in his beautiful aria in the second act.

The younger Lisa went from much less to extra in the voice of the Russian soprano Elena Guseva, who shone with dedication and depth in her aria in two elements of the third act, earlier than committing suicide with a plastic bag. The veteran mezzo German Doris Soffel exhibited vocal class and stage mettle as the outdated countess. And the mezzo Russian Elena Maximova musically confronted the immense tessitura of Polina’s ugly music, in the second scene of the first act.

At the finish of his article, Taruskin highlights Tchaikovsky’s visionary surrealism in profiling Herman. A personality near the psychological prototype of the trendy antihero who questions the actuality of his obsessions, however can not eliminate them. And that Jones reveals him totally conscious of his future, from his first look on stage.

The queen of spades

Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Libretto by Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Arsen Soghomonyan (tenor), Andrei Kymach (baritone) Vasily Efimov (baritone), Doris Soffel (mezzo-soprano), Elena Guseva (soprano), Elena Maximova (mezzo-soprano), amongst others. Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana. Valencian Community Orchestra. Musical course: James Gaffigan. Stage course: Richard Jones. Palau de les Arts, October 1. Until October 14.

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