Go inside this production of The Queen of Spades with engaging articles, notes from the director, a complete plot synopsis, artist bios, and more.
Opera at its best takes the universal themes of humanity and brings them to life in the space and time of a live performance.
The passion consuming the central figure of The Queen of Spades illuminates this opera, one of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s greatest achievements. Anyone familiar with the composer’s ballets, symphonies, and other operas is sure to revel in a score that communicates endless excitement.
On the podium for this opera’s return to Lyric will be our own Sir Andrew Davis, one of the great interpreters of Slavic repertoire, whose tenure as Lyric’s music director began with the Lyric premiere of The Queen of Spades in 2000/01.
The opera presents extraordinary challenges to the artists onstage – above all, to the tenor portraying Gherman, Tchaikovsky’s neurotic, ill-fated protagonist. Our Gherman, Brandon Jovanovich, sang his first Queen of Spades in an acclaimed portrayal at the 2018 Salzburg Festival. He’s rapidly made the role his own with an exceptional combination of musical excellence and riveting theatrical flair.
Brandon has been a favorite of Lyric audiences for more than a decade, as has his leading lady in The Queen of Spades, the magnificent Sondra Radvanovsky. After her triumph earlier this season in The Three Queens, she’s making her eagerly awaited role debut as the tragic Lisa.
We take pride in having cast this opera with such depth. The four most important supporting roles in Tchaikovsky’s opera all require star performers, and we have them in the formidable dramatic mezzo Jane Henschel (Countess), debuting at Lyric after a highly distinguished and varied career worldwide; the dashing baritone Lucas Meachem (Yeletsky), following his memorable Don Giovanni earlier this season; the elegant bass-baritone Samuel Youn (Tomsky), playing a captivating character in striking contrast with his vicious Alberich in Lyric’s Ring cycle; and Ryan Opera Center alumna Elizabeth DeShong (Pauline), who possesses of one of the world’s most beautiful lyric mezzo voices.
The Queen of Spades is highlighting a 2019/20 season that is all about meeting the needs of the community we serve. That means working constantly to foster Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, or IDEA, in all facets of our operations both on stage and off. To that end, we launched a company-wide “IDEA Initiative” in 2018. IDEA encompasses a range of opportunities and challenges impacting virtually every aspect of our organization, from recruitment to repertoire, and from investment to the membership of our boards. The values of IDEA must be at the heart of our mission, informing and underlying decisions we make throughout the company. We need to learn about IDEA best practices and then apply them to Lyric’s specific circumstances. Our commitment is ongoing.
This is a strategic priority for the company, and more than 70 Lyric staff and Board members are actively engaged in our IDEA program. The IDEA Working Group, which is made up of over 30 members from across the company, recommended that we adopt a clear, visible statement of inclusivity. Beginning in 2020, we are proudly displaying that statement in our lobbies, box office, and administrative areas of the company.
The success of IDEA is vital for Lyric’s future. Apart from being the right thing to do, it is clear that unless we fully embrace the principles of IDEA, we will never be able to fulfill our potential.
General Director, President & CEO
The Women’s Board Endowed Chair
David T. Ormesher