Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades" back at the Sofia Opera after 40 years
Photo: Работен момент от постановката на сцената на софийската опера и балет. СНИМКИ: АВТОРЪТ
10 Nov 2022Newspaper “24 Chasa”

Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades" back at the Sofia Opera after 40 years

10 NOV 2022 Newspaper "24 Chasa"

Author Hristo Nikolov

Artists from 5 nations prepare the premiere spectacles

Artists from 5 nations are harnessed to prepare the premiere performances of one of Tchaikovsky's most famous operas – "The Queen of Spades", which has not been performed in Sofia for over 40 years.

Along with the soloists from the Sofia Opera and Ballet, in the performances, which begin on 18 November, will play singers from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and there is a Chinese presence in the chorus.

The director Vera Petrova's solution is avant-garde – the action takes place on several circles that are enclosed in each other and move, and from afar resemble a clock. The vision is somewhat unreal and on the border between reality and fantasy, as are all the many characters of this opera, based on Pushkin's novel of the same name. This

has necessitated the intervention of a choreographer,

to place every movement on the stage with precision, as the characters are both real and unreal.

According to Tsvetana Bandalovska, who is one of the three performers of the main female role Liza, her character in this interpretation is practically a soul and the big challenge for her was to figure out how a soul moves and sounds.

In a plot quite different from Pushkin's original, the protagonist, Herman, is all the time trying to find out from the old Countess the secret of the three cards which will earn him a fortune enabling him to marry her granddaughter. When he proceeds to the decisive action and enters her bedroom, she dies without having revealed to him what to bet.

He imagines what the three cards are – a three, a seven and an ace, wins a fortune by betting on the first two, but on the third bet he loses everything and finally shoots himself.

This is one of Tchaikovsky's most complex operas, with many codes and symbols that remain unsolved to this day. Some of them are believed to be Masonic.

The Belarusian conductor Andrey Galanov says he has been involved with "The Queen of Spades" for 27 years and

he's still not sure he's quite figured out exactly how to perform it.

It was his idea to cut the children's chorus with which the opera opens for the Sofia production, since the libretto has the children walking in the garden with their governesses singing in praise of the war, the soldiers and the guns, which would create unpleasant associations today.

Curiously, the old Countess will actually be performed by two singers under 30 – Gergana Rusekova and Vesela Yaneva.

Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades", which has been triumphantly received by audiences since its premiere more than a century ago, is full of massive choral scenes and virtually

over 200 people take part in it.

Tchaikovsky also inserted a pastoral scene inside, for which he directly borrowed music from Mozart.

The main character Herman in the premiere spectacles will be performed by Kostadin Andreev, Martin Iliev and the Ukrainian singer Eduard Martynyuk. According to Martynyuk, the leading factor in the image of his character is love, the lack of which has led to the state his country has been in for 8 months now.