The director Vera Petrova about her work on the production of Tchaikovsky's opera “The Queen of Spades”
03 Nov 2022Bulgarian Telegraph Agency / Daniel Dimitrov

The director Vera Petrova about her work on the production of Tchaikovsky's opera “The Queen of Spades”

On 18 November is the premiere of "The Queen of Spades" at the Sofia Opera. The next performances are on 19, 20 and 22 November, the opera company announced.

Dostoevsky described "The Queen of Spades" as a "pinnacle in the art of the fantastic". The provocation for our team to read the title was that we are mainly in the field of the fantastic, tells the director Vera Petrova.

The adaptations, screen adaptations, and works of various arts inspired by Pushkin's novel "The Queen of Spades" began to appear immediately after the publication of the work. These include Tchaikovsky's opera of the same name (1890 was the first production of the opera), the three operas that remain less well-known, the first screen adaptations that appeared during the silent film era, and the 1949 British screen adaptation that Wes Anderson and Martin Scorsese defined as a true classic.

Why does the theoretical controversy surrounding the realistic and fantastical elements in the novel continue to preoccupy the minds of Pushkin scholars (the novel was first published in 1834)?

As with all great works, the genesis of Pushkin's work and Tchaikovsky's opera leaves us all with mostly unanswered questions, which is why every artist seeks to bring to the audience what he reads in the work, says Vera Petrova. In her words, the choice whether to be only in the rational or in the fantasy reading is deeply personal and intimate, there is no right or wrong, there is a path that every creator, production team and artist goes through. One thing is clear – there are many more layers of the conscious and unconscious in "The Queen of Spades" than they seem to us, she says.

Tchaikovsky also created music that affirms that life is like a game of chance – or a game that enables the transformation of life. He, according to our team, encoded in the word "game" the philosophical maxim, provoked by Eastern teachings, that life and reality are in fact an illusion and are subject only to our inner world as we emit it to space, the ether, says Vera Petrova.

According to her, all the images, except for Herman, are the fruit of his fantasy, his inner dream. "In that sense, every character that appears is a kind of archetype. An archetype that our German creates in his fantastic dream. The Black Queen, the Countess, is no exception. The fantastical is so beautifully encoded in the form of supposed realism that we enter a unique dreamlike state that we don't know if it's an illusion, a dream, or a new reality that we all aspire to," says further the director.

The team

The conductor is Andrey Galanov, Nela Stoyanova is the set designer, Hristiana Mihaleva-Zorbalieva is the costume designer, Aleksandra Tihomirova is the choreographer, Violeta Dimitrova is the chorus master.

"The whole assistant team and our fantastic solo artists and chorus who are able to recreate any fantasy. According to our team, the story is not just down to a card game, nor to the reality in which we live. Our search is in the deep subconscious of the protagonist, on his personal journey," says Vera Petrova.