What You Need to Know about Lyric's Production

February 15 - March 1, 2020

CHICAGO (1/7/20) – The impetuous, unstable Gherman is a man obsessed – with gambling, with Lisa (who’s engaged to someone else), and with the secret of winning at cards, which is closely held by Lisa’s grandmother, an elderly countess. His all-consuming passion eclipses his sense of reason and reality at a terrible price.

  • Gorgeous score: Tchaikovsky is justly famous for setting tales of thwarted love and tragic heartbreak, such as Eugene OneginSwan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet, to lushly romantic music. Although it’s less frequently performed, in part because of the fierce demands of its leading roles, The Queen of Spades is instantly recognizable for the passionate beauty and intensity of Tchaikovsky’s composition.
  • Gripping psychological thriller: Audiences will be on the edge of their seats for this suspenseful, Hitchcockian production that incorporates elements of gothic horror and spooky, surrealistic puppetry.
  • Award-winning productionConceived by British director Richard Jones (winner of five Olivier Awards), this production won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Opera and the Barclays Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Benjamin Davis is the revival director.
  • Sibling collaborators: When the Mariinsky Theatre commissioned composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to write the opera (based on a Pushkin short story), he asked his brother Modest Tchaikovsky to write the libretto.
  • Commanding musical leadership: Lyric’s principal conductor Sir Andrew Davis returns to the work that inaugurated his first season as Lyric’s music director in 2000. Michael Black is chorus master.
  • Outstanding cast tackles outsized vocal and dramatic demands: Tenor Brandon Jovanovich relishes the opportunity to portray the troubled character of Gherman, and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky will bring passionate intensity and musicality to her role debut as Lisa. Mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel (Lyric debut) portrays the cryptic Countess. Gherman’s fellow soldier Tomsky will be sung by bass Samuel Youn. Baritone Lucas Meachem returns as Lisa’s fiancé Prince Yeletsky; Lisa’s friend Pauline is portrayed by mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, a Ryan Opera Center alumna.
  • Distinguished designers and choreographers: Scenery and costumes are designed by John Macfarlane. The original lighting designs by Jennifer Tipton will be overseen by revival lighting designer Chris Maravich. The original choreography by the late Linda Dobell will be re-created by revival choreographer Anjali Mehra (Lyric debut).
  • Five performances: February 15, 19, 23, and 26 and March 1 (performances in bold are matinees).
  • 3 hours and 45 minutes, including 2 intermissions.
  • Sung in Russian with English translations projected above the stage.
  • For more information and to order tickets, visit lyricopera.org/spades or call 312-827-5600.
  • For information about pre-performance dining options at Lyric, visit lyricopera.org/dining to learn about on-site restaurants, beverage service, and more.

From: Lisa Middleton, Vice President, Marketing & Communications

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago's mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.

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