Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Queen of Spades...


The Queen of Spades (opera)
Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday Paul treated me to a night at the opera. We went to the Barbican to see Neil Bartlett's new production of The Queen of Spades for Opera North.

Tchaikovsky's opera tells a tale of a Russian officer falling for the wrong girl in the late 1700s St. Petersburg was never going to end well. Princes, soldiers, countesses, nursemaids, governesses, wet-nurses, strollers, children and gamblers all take us on this journey of love, loss, obsession and a fatal belief in Fate.

It's an unfussy staging that Bartlett has gone for: a simple set, costumes that are delightfully period and the lighting, whilst being low-angled, is never too harsh.

The orchestra was tip top - suitably dramatic without being over-bearing. The chorus too shone with a crispness and clarity that was refreshing.

The solo performances were fine although - as Paul pointed out - it's often hard to be convinced that such ample star-crossed lovers Herman and Lisa find the time to eat so well.

Stand-out performance was by Josephine Barstow playing the her grandmother / Countess: a vamp, a harridan, and a scene-chewing performance.

Stand-out song for me was the innuendo ladened "If pretty girls could fly like birds".
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