[Met Performance] CID:204010

New Production

The Queen of Spades
Metropolitan Opera House, Tue, September 28, 1965

Debut : John Reardon, Gene Boucher

In English

The Queen of Spades (5)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Teresa Stratas

Jon Vickers

Regina Resnik

Prince Yeletsky
William Walker

Count Tomsky
John Reardon [Debut]

Paul Franke

Lorenzo Alvary

Rosalind Elias

Carlotta Ordassy

Master of Ceremonies
Gene Boucher [Debut]

Mary Ellen Pracht

Gabor Carelli

Louis Sgarro

Naomi Marritt

Ivan Allen

Thomas Schippers

Henry Butler

Robert O'Hearn

Alicia Markova

Translation by Boris Goldovsky
The Queen of Spades received sixteen performances this season.

Production a gift of Mrs. Albert D. Lasker and Francis Goelet

Review 1:

Review of Paul Hume in the Washington Post-Times-Herald

The Metropolitan Opera is giving its subscribers and its nationwide radio audience one notable revival in the final season in its famous old home. That is Tchaikovsky's stirring and eloquent "Queen of Spades," to use the language in which the opera is being sung.

Gustav Mahler first conducted "Queen of Spades" at the Met. It was in March 1910, and his cast was headed by Leo Slezak and Emmy Destinn. But after a total of four performances that year, the opera dropped from view at the Met until this year's revival. Handsomely mounted, thanks to gifts from Mrs. Albert D. Lasker and Francis Goulet, the opera should soon acquire a following that will make it a popular and permanent entry in the repertory of the new house at Lincoln Center to be inaugurated next September.

The principal element in the success of the new production is the superior shaping of its notable orchestral score. Thomas Schippers conducts the work with marvelous sensitivity to the subtle power of the score. The music was written at the same time as the Fifth Symphony and the ballet, "Sleeping Beauty," and it is in every way worthy of its better known companions.

There is no operatic equivalent for this music, since it is unquestionably Tchaikovsky's finest opera, and no one else uses his tonal, harmonic or melodic idioms in the opera theater. Schippers draws excellent playing from the Met orchestra, a kind of playing that does them great credit.

The cast is, in one respect phenomenal: sitting near the back of the main floor, I could understand practically every word. This is rare enough in any opera theater. In a house the size of the Met, it is incredibly high praise. The singing is of a correspondingly high order. One of the biggest hands during the performance went to John Reardon for his brilliant account of Tomski's aria in the first act. This will surprise no fans of the Opera Society of Washington, but Reardon won himself an immense personal ovation.

Jon Vickers has the vocal power to dominate the taxing role of Gherman. His voice is at ease whether at the full or in soft work, and, except for the very top notes, he sings with comfort in every range. His acting sufficed in the demanding part.

One of the Met's steadily growing stars is, like Vickers, Canadian, the pretty soprano, Teresa Stratas. She looked lovely and generally sang well as Lisa, though the part asks more dramatic thrust than her voice possesses. She tried to make for it by forcing, which never works. She is a lyric, the role is dramatic. But it was a sensitive portrayal.

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