About us / Contact

The Classical Music Network


Europe : Paris, Londn, Zurich, Geneva, Strasbourg, Bruxelles, Gent
America : New York, San Francisco, Montreal                       WORLD

Your email :



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame
Vladimir Galouzine (Herman), Hasmik Papian (Lisa), Irina Bogatcheva (the countess), Nikolai Putilin (Count Tomski), Ludovic Tézier (Prince Eletsky), Christianne Stotijn (Paulina), Vsevolod Grivnov (Chekalinski), Sergei Stilmachenko (Surin), Irina Tchistjakova (Masha).
Orchestra and choir of the Opéra national de Paris, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (conductor) – Children’s choir of la Maîtrise des Hauts de Seine, Peter Burian (choir master).
Lev Dodin (stage direction), David Borovsky (sets), Chloé Obolensky (costumes), Jean Kalman (lighting), Youri Vassilikov (choreography), François Roussillon (producer).
Live recording Opéra Bastille (May 2005) – Running time: 178mn.

When this Opéra national de Paris production of Pique Dame premièred in 1999, it was enthusiastically received by the public. With the exeception of the conductor, the 2005 re-run presented the same cast. It was extensively reviewed here and there is no need to go into details. It featured a disconcerting, quasi nonsensical stage direction and ugly sets, but was musically remarkable. In spite of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky’s heavy bâton, the orchestra of the Paris Opera shines, so do the opera choir and the Hauts de Seine children’s choir. Congratulations to all of them for their effort in the pronunciation of the Russian language. Two singers stand out in this otherwise very good cast. Vladimir Galouzine is the perfect, hallucinated Herman, and French baritone Ludovic Tézier the ideal Prince Eletsky. Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian as Lisa, Nikolai Putilin as Count Tomsky, and Sergei Stilmachenko (Surin) do jutice to their part. To complete the cast, the countess of Irina Bogatcheva is more than honorable. However, her rendition of this role will not replace in our memories those of Astrid Varnay or Régine Crespin who left us a short while ago.

We may wonder if it was necessary to immortalize this production with a DVD. A CD may have very well sufficed. Lev Dodin, the renouned Russian director has had, for the most part, a triumphal career as a theatre director. It is not uncommon these days, for uninspired directors, to think that the “abstruse” or the so-called “second degree” can replace ideas. In this particular instance, Dodin fails to reconcile two essential dimensions of Pique Dame: the “munificent”, the “wordly”, the “picturesque” on the one hand, and the “morbid”, the “intimist”, the “obsessional” on the other hand. Dodin’s vision is strictly “psychiatric”. Hence the spectator’s complicated task. Too often, he is left with the surtitles and his imagination to understand what is going on.

One word regarding the libretto that accompanies the two DVD’s: we find no mention of the places where scenes take place and it is most regrettable, especially in view of all the liberties taken by the stage director.

The last word will be for the countess: “I should not have watched.”

Christian Dalzon




Copyright ©ConcertoNet.com