Tchaikovsky's thriller THE QUEEN OF SPADES returns to Lyric on February 15

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 asEugene Onegin, Swan 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 production: Conceived 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 Davisis 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 or call 312-827-5600.

  • For information about pre-performance dining options at Lyric, visit to learn about on-site restaurants, beverage service, and more.

About Lyric

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola, and Special Project Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

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Lyric presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades generously made possible by

Margot and Josef Lakonishok

Mrs. Herbert A. Vance & Mr. and Mrs. William C. Vance

Production originated at Welsh National Opera, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Den Norske Opera, and Canadian Opera Company.