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Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Obsessive in gambling and in love, the soldier Hermann is the protagonist of Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, based on
a story by Pushkin. He is smitten with the aristocratic Lisa and fixated on learning the winning secret of 'the
three cards' from her grandmother, the Countess, played by iconic contralto Ewa Podles.This opulent production
from Barcelona's Liceu captures St Petersburg in the era of Catherine the Great, while the house's Music Director
conducts a large and impressive cast.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Misha Didyk, Emily Magee, Lado Ataneli, Ludovic Tezier, Ewa Podles
  • Directors: Gilbert Deflo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian (DTS 5.1), Russian (PCM2 .0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Catalan
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004UU31Y8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,612 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Satish Kamath on June 24, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
The Pique Dame that I was quite familiar with is the Kirov/Mariyinsky/Gergiev production with Grigorian (Hermann), Gulegina (Lisa) and Filatova (Countess). I can quite confidently state that this particular production is in every which way as good in most parts, lacks a bit here and there and better in others.

Herman's part is very very well sung and enacted by Misha Didyk the young Ukrainian tenor. The men do a great job with the vocals, Yeletsky by Ludovic Tezier and Lado Ataneli as Tomsky. The Liceu chorus sound great throughout.

However, Emily Magee is no comparison to Gulegina in the Kirov production. She just does not come as through for her role, with her acting leaving much to be desired. The suicide scene here is a real damp squibb which by itself pulls down one star.
But Ewa Podles, is the best Countess I have ever seen and heard in the 4 productions of this Opera I have seen on DVD.

The dances of the second act are something to marvel at. No comparison with the Mariyinsky for pomp, splendour and sheer technique etc... but the sequence in this production is more earthy, more traditional in the sense that since the sequence is a throw back to the Roccocan period, the dances actually match the time frame, rather than in the Mariyisky production with a gold painted eros and dances with the 20th century sophistication that just did not exist in the time frame of the story.

Thankfully, this is more of a traditional production with period costumes, although I have heard in another criticism of this production that it has been pushed back by 40 years from the actual time of composing this to the age of Pushkin rather than Tchaikovsky. Since the original plot on which this is based comes from Pushkin, I think this is pretty acceptable.
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Format: Blu-ray
Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame is an opera that has much in it to enjoy in its wonderful music and it's ghost-story, manic-obsessive plot. For me it has always played better than the other Tchaikovsky operas, including Onegin.

Here it comes to us from Barcelona's Teatro del Liceu with a thoroughly international cast. The cast is strong: Misha Didyk as Hermann, a voice with an appropriately non-italianate timbre though reminiscent of a darker-hued Bergonzi, powerful and lyrical, an eloquent and musical tenor I had not heard before; Emily Magee sings a a very fine Lisa, hers being a full-voiced, focused spinto with a nice dramatic edge, again, a new voice for me; the wonderful Ludovic Tézier as the Prince, elegant and resonant, has a fresh voice, and a fine line for the legato of his beautiful aria; and in the role of the old countess my favorite "ham" and grande-dame of all, the voice still powerful, the presence totally commanding, the great Ewa Podles: she brings interest and class to whatever she does. A little surprising is the booming Elena Zaremba as the Shepherd in the peculiarly costumed Pastorale (why red?) and as Pauline. The chorus is exemplary. The conductor is the German Michael Boder, who introduces discrete string portamento here and there. Ukranian Misha Didyk is the closest thing to a Russian in the cast. Nonetheless, everyone sings (in Russian) with conviction. Of course in spite of the Russian allusions, Pique Dame, like St. Petersburg and Tchaikowsky, looks to the West.

It was fun, even if bittersweet, to see the once rich-voiced Stefania Toczyska play the cameo role of the Governess (she's about a decade older than Podles).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Pikovaia Dama (Queen of Spades) has been my favourite Tchaikovsky opera along with "The Maid of Orleans". I have many fine performances of Pikovaia Dama and whilst they are very good productions; THIS production from Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu TOPS THEM ALL. Not only with an award winning cast, but with every small detail. Costumes, sets, lighting, movement to effects. It does not get any better than this. Who else on this planet could play the countess but Ewa Podles. Her performance is electrifyingly brilliant and her acting ability is second to none. Emily Magee if a formidable Lisa, her voice just fills the theatre and the timbre is perfect for the role. She too can bring you to your knees with her performance. Misha Didyk's Herman is just as commanding, his voice pitched right for the part and frighteningly almost evil to the point of his desperation on knowing the secret of the three cards. Ludovic Tezier's Prince Yeletesky is powerful but not overdone. He is the best I have heard in this role; in fact all principles seem to fit into their respective roles as though Tchaikovsky had written this opera especially for them.
I cannot recommend this DVD highly enough.
The staging itself is nothing short of spectacular not to mention the sumptuous costumes, especially the colour format employed.
Special mention should be made to the children in Act One; just charming.
So if you want to transported back in time where dark secrets transform and twist the subconscious mind of a desperate gambler, then Pikovaia Dama is for you.
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