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Music Text

Libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky and the composer after the novel by Alexander Pushkin; original German version by Max Kalbeck; new German version by Rolf Lauckner; English version by Rosa Newmarch (R,G,E)

Scoring

3S,2M,2A,4T,3Bar,2B; chorus; ballet;
3.2(II=corA).2(bcl).0-4.2.3.1-timp.perc(1)-harp-pft-strings

Cyrillic vocal material with German phonetic notation available upon request

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
12/19/1890
Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Company: unknown

Roles

HERMAN, an officer Tenor
COUNT TOMSKY Baritone
PRINCE YELETSKY Baritone
TCHEKALINSKY Tenor
SOURIN Bass
TCHAPLITSKY Tenor
NARUMOV Bass
MASTER OF CEREMONIES Tenor
COUNTESS Mezzo Soprano
LISA, her granddaughter Soprano
PAULINE Contralto
GOVERNESS Mezzo Soprano
MASHA, Lisa's maid Soprano
A boy speaking role
PRILEPA Soprano
MILOVSOR Contralto
SLATOGOR Baritone
nurses, governesses, boys, girls, promenaders, guests and gamblers
Time and Place

St Petersburg, end of the 18th century

Synopsis

When Lisa meets Herman, she realises that her engagement to Prince Yeletsky is not exactly blissful. Herman is ardently in love with Lisa; her noble descent, however, makes an official relationship impossible. Her grandmother, who is nicknamed Pique Dame due to a passion for gambling when she was younger, has grave misgivings on meeting Herman. Indeed, Herman has the idea of making a profit from revealing the countess’s gambling secret and using the money to wrench Lisa from Yeletsky's hands. In the meantime, Lisa has fallen in love with Herman and, at a ball, secretly gives him the key to the countess's room. There he urges the countess to reveal her secret; the sight of his gun, however, scares her to death. Lisa realises that Herman was apparently more interested in the secret of the cards than in her love. She wants to talk to him but finds that he has been possessed with gambling fever…

Moods

Dramatic, Poetic, Tragic

Subjects

Magic/Mystery, Relationships, Society

Recommended Recording
cd_cover

Gegam Grigorian/Maria Guleghina/Irina Arkhipova/Olga Borodina/Nikolai Putilin/Vladimir Chernov/Vladimir Solodovnikov/Sergei Alexashkin/Evgeni Boitsov/Nikolai Gassiev/Gennadi Bezzubenkov/Ludmila Filatova/Tatiana Filimoniva/Kirov Opera/Valery Gergiev 
Philips 438 141-2

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