No one in our time has done more to consolidate Russian opera in the international canon than Valery Gergiev. Of all the dozens of titles new and old that he has championed, Pique Dame is arguably the crown jewel. Conducting Tchaikovsky’s tingling ghost story at the renowned Teatro alla Scala, Gergiev has at his disposal a remarkable slate of Slavic specialists, led by the Samarkand native Najmiddin Mavlyanov as Gherman, the tormented card player, and Asmik Grigorian and Elena Guseva as the woman who throws herself away for him. Julia Gertseva appears in the critical cameo role of the Old Countess, custodian of fatal secrets. —M.G.
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