Obsession. Passion. Fantasy. Just another day for Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He composed Queen of Spades, the 10th of his 11 operas, in a mere 44 days (“I am working with great fervour,” he wrote to a friend). The opera was yet another based on a text by the magnificent Russian writer Alexander Pushkin, and its story of a man desperate to learn the secret of winning at cards is Faustian, Freudian, Hitchcockian. The tenor Brandon Jovanovich sings the coveted role of Gherman, the tragic gambler. Indeed, he’s performing three major parts at the Lyric this season (the others: Siegmund and Pinkerton). The highly theatrical production is by Richard Jones. —L.J.
Queen of Spades was featured in the February 8, 2020 issue of Air Mail. Read on