P.I. Tchaikovsky opera "The Queen of Spades"
The basis for the "Queen of Spades" PI Tchaikovsky served as the same story by A.S. Pushkin. This exciting and tragic love story of an innocent girl and a passionate officer who fell victim to the gambling of cards was written by the composer in just 44 days. The work is considered the pinnacle of the operatic dramaturgy of the composer, because in the depth and strength of the experiences of the main characters, the intensity of the passions and the irresistible power of the dramatic impact, he has no equal in his work.
Summary of the opera Tchaikovsky "The Queen of Spades" and a lot of interesting facts about this work, read on our page.
|Liza||soprano||Granddaughter of Countess|
|Tomsk||baritone||Count, friend of Hermann, grandson of Countess|
|Eletsky||baritone||Prince, Lisa's fiance|
|Countess||mezzo-soprano||eighty year old woman|
Summary of "Queen of Spades"
Petersburg end of the XVIII century. Poor young officer Herman is madly in love with a beautiful stranger and eager to find out who she is. Soon he was told that his grandmother had won the heart of a rich old Countess - Lisa, who very soon would become the legitimate spouse of Prince Yeletsky. Herman's friend, Count Tomsky, tells him that the old woman has unique information — she knows the secret of the three cards, thanks to which she was once able to recoup and return the card loss.
Lisa was kindled by mutual feelings for the officer. Herman swears that they will be together, or he will be forced to die. He dreams of getting rich quicker in order to marry his beloved, and only the secret of the Countess's card wins can help him. At night, he sneaks into her bedroom and begs her to reveal the secret of the "three cards", but the "old witch", frightened by the intruder with a gun, dies and takes the secret with her.
Lisa gives Herman a date on the embankment, but he is delayed. And all because at this time the ghost of the Countess appears in his room. The old woman voiced the secret of the "three cards" - this is a three, seven and ace, and asks the officer to take Lisa as his wife. The ghost dissolves in the air, and Herman, like a madman, tirelessly repeats this combination. He runs to meet Liza, but pushes her away — he is already obsessed not with love, but with excitement. In desperation, the girl rushes into the river.
Meanwhile, Herman hastily goes to the gambling house and makes bets on the cards called ghosts. Twice luck was on his side, but when he puts on the “ace”, in his hand is the lady of spades. He curses the Countess with damnations and plunges the dagger into his heart.
|Duration of performance|
|I Act||Act II||Act III|
|60 min||60 min||45 min.|
- P.I. Chaikovsky wrote an opera in Florence in just 44 days.
- To perfectly perform the part of Herman in all seven scenes, the author needed a truly skilled and enduring performer. Selection PI Tchaikovsky fell on the famous tenor Nikolai Figner, on whose abilities the author oriented himself while writing music. The success of "Queen of Spades" was truly overwhelming. After a successful premiere at the Mariinsky Theater, enthusiastic Tchaikovsky wrote: "Figner and the St. Petersburg orchestra performed real miracles!" Twelve days later, the “Queen of Spades” was greeted in Kiev with equal enthusiasm.
- The first foreign premiere of The Queen of Spades was the performance in Prague in 1892. The conductor was Adolph Cech. This was followed by the following premieres: running Gustav Mahler in Vienna in 1902 and in New York (in German) in the same year. The first performance of the opera in Great Britain took place in 1915 in London.
- The events of Pushkin’s Queen of Spades, as is known, are based on real events - the story of Natalia Petrovna Golitsyna, one of the most influential and richest princesses of the XIX century. Her grandson lost a lot of cards, and turned to her for help - borrow money. But the grandmother instead revealed to her grandson a secret that allowed him to recoup.
- This mystical story about three cards - the three seven and an ace - miraculously influenced everyone who touched it in any way. Witnesses of the last days of the princess, argued that shortly before her death, they saw a ghost of a lonely officer near the mansion. It was the year 1837.
- In this combination of figures - 1837, constituting the year of the death of the princess and Pushkin himself, in the most incomprehensible way all the same mysterious figures - 3, 7, 1. And in the last hour of Tchaikovsky’s life, as his doctor claimed, the same ghost was seen to the composer lonely officer. " Mysticism, and only.
- Take a closer look at the structure of the opera and its title: 3 acts, 7 pictures, "The Queen of Spades". Nothing like?
- This opera is considered one of the most mystical in the world musical theater. Many are convinced that it is she who is to blame for the many failures of her creators, as well as those who performed it.
- In this work, great importance is attached to the number "three", it seems to be endowed with magical meaning and is found literally everywhere. First of all, these are the three cards. In the heart of Herman, according to Chekalinsky, three sins. Herman himself is guilty of just three deaths - the Countess, Lisa and his. Three themes prevail in the musical fabric of the entire work - rock, love and three cards.
- Some biographers are inclined to believe that Tchaikovsky’s refusal to work on this order was due to the fact that he was simply frightened by the plot. According to some reports, he agreed to compose an opera only under one condition - if the libretto is significantly different from the original. That is why he made such active changes to all the dramatic components of the work.
- Directors wishing to bring the libretto closer to Pushkin’s text got into serious trouble. The most striking example is Vsevolod Meyerhold. As mentioned earlier, he ordered a new libretto and even put this opera in the Kirov Theater. However, after that he did not live long - the director was arrested and sent to be shot.
- A few more compositions for musical theater were written on Pushkin’s work, only they are not popular at all - these are the operetta by Franz Suppe (1864) and the opera by J. Halevy (1850).
- The ballet masters, for example, Roland Petit, also turned to this plot. He created a ballet for N. Tsiskaridze at the request of the leadership of the Bolshoi Theater, but he was afraid to take the music from the opera and chose her Sixth Symphony. But the unexpected happened - all the ballerinas refused to dance to the Old Countess, only Ielze Liepa agreed. The premiere of the ballet took place in 2001.
- The original musical score of the opera is stored in the Mariinsky Theater in encapsulated form.
Popular arias from the opera The Queen of Spades
Hermann's aria "What is our life? Game!" - listen
Tomsk's song "If Dear Girls" - listen
Liza's arioso "Where these tears come from" - listen
Herman's arioso "I don't know her name" - listen
History of creation
The idea of putting the opera on the plot of the mysterious Pushkin story arose for the first time from the director of the imperial theaters, I. A. Vsevolozhsky. For several years he was inspired by this idea and even independently planned the script and thought out the stage effects. In 1885, he began to actively seek a composer who could bring this idea to life. Among the candidates were A. A. Villamov and N. S. Klenovsky. Two years later, Vsevolozhsky turned to P.I. TchaikovskyHowever, he was refused - the composer did not at all attract this plot. In 1888, his younger brother, Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky, began to work on the libretto; moreover, he created it for Klenovsky. However, the maestro eventually refused to work, and Vsevolozhsky again turned to Peter Ilyich. This time he was more insistent, and asked not only to write an opera, but to finish it with a new season. At this time, Tchaikovsky just decided to leave Russia and plunge headlong into work. That is why he agreed, and went to Florence to work.
The first fragments of the "Queen of Spades" appeared on January 19, 1890. The piece was written very quickly - the clavier of the opera was released on April 6, and the score was already on June 8. Creating his masterpiece, the composer actively changed the plot lines of the libretto and composed words for some scenes. As a result, the plot of the opera acquired a number of differences from its original source. Pushkin's story was transformed into a poetic canvas, which very organically incorporated the poems of other poets - G.R. Derzhavina, P.M. Karabanova, K.N. Batyushkova and V.A. Zhukovsky. Changed and the main characters of the work. So, Lisa from a poor pupil of a wealthy Countess turned into her granddaughter. Pushkinsky Germann was a native of the Germans, but Tchaikovsky did not mention a word about it. In addition, his surname becomes a name and loses one letter "n" - his name is Herman. The future husband of Liza, Prince Yeletsky, Alexander Sergeyevich is absent. Count Tomsky in the story of the Russian literary genius is the grandson of the Countess, but in the opera he is a complete stranger to her. The life of the main characters is different: the story of the book Herman loses her mind and goes to the hospital, Lisa forgets about him and marries another. In the opera, the lovers die. And finally, the time of the action of this tragic story is also changed - in the original source, events unfold during the time of Alexander I, but in his musical version - during the reign of Empress Catherine II.
The first performance of the opera took place at the Mariinsky Theater on December 19, 1890, conducted this evening by E. Napravnik. Tchaikovsky was actively involved in the preparation of the premiere. Peter Ilyich assumed that success would be incredible, and he was not mistaken. The audience demanded a repetition of individual numbers for an encore, and the composer was called onto the stage countless times. And even the fact that the work of Pushkin was so much rethought did not embarrass even the zealous "Pushkinists" - they applauded the Russian genius while standing.
12 days after the premiere of "The Queen of Spades" was held in Kiev with no less success. But in Moscow, at the Bolshoi Theater, they saw the opera only at the beginning of November 1891. After that, the opera masterpiece of Peter Ilyich began to appear in European and American theater scenes. The first country, which showed the opera, was the Czech Republic - it happened in the autumn of 1892. Four years later, The Queen of Spades conquered the Vienna State Opera. In 1910, the play was staged in New York. The opera was brought to Great Britain in 1915 and staged in London.
All these performances, although they were shown in different languages, were generally interpreted by production directors in a classical manner. However, there were those brave souls who tried to return the plot to the story. Among them is the 1935 production, directed by V. Meyerhold. In this version, shown on the stage of the Maly Opera Theater, there was a completely different libretto, a different scene of action and there was no love line. However, this production on stage did not last long.
"Queen of Spades"and today remains one of the most perfect examples of its genre in the world opera classics. Thanks to its incredible depth, exciting content, beautiful music and mystical aura, this opera has been living on stages of world theaters for more than 120 years, repeatedly conquering the audience. In addition, it continues to occupy the minds of researchers all over the planet, because it still has many unsolved mysteries and undeciphered symbols.