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 Vienna State Opera, Gergiev has at his disposal a remarkable slate of Slavic specialists, including Dmitry Golovnin as Gherman, the tormented card player; Elena Guseva as the woman who throws herself away for him; and, in a cameo part to which only a prima donna assoluta of yesteryear can do full justice, the legendary Olga Borodina as the Old Countess, custodian of fatal secrets. —M.G.
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