A sneak peek at ‘Pique Dame’

Pushkin’s dark tale of obsession, greed and death comes to the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv.

pique dame opera 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
pique dame opera 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With demons stirring within characters, love emerging between two people with conflicting intentions and separate paths to follow, and a passion for gambling, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s opera, Pique Dame, based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, takes to the stage of the Israeli Opera-Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on June 25.
The opera will be performed in Russian, with subtitles in English and Hebrew. Keri-Lynn Wilson, the acclaimed Canadian conductor and Juilliard graduate who performed her debut at age 21 at Carnegie Hall, will be conducting the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion. Award-winning Polish director Mariusz Trelinski will be directing the performance.
The story opens with Herman, played by Victor Lutsiuk, watching soldiers gamble while a blazing passion churns within him, as he is in love with a woman he doesn’t know.
Prince Yeletsky, played by Vladimir Petrov, enters the scene, brimmingwith happiness about his upcoming wedding. His fiancée, Lisa, played byIra Bertman, arrives with her guardian, the Countess, played by AnjaSilja. Upon seeing Lisa, Herman realizes that she is his beloved.
Gossip about the Countess is spread, and Herman learns that she used tobe named The Queen of Spades because she had once gambled her entirefortune away, only to win it back by mastering the formula of Count St.German. She has revealed her secret to only two people, but it is saidthat a third man would force the secret from her with a fury ofpassion. Herman vows that he will elicit the secret from the Countess.At the same time, Lisa’s heart begins to yearn for Herman.
“The Countess is someone who does not belong to the time in which shelives. She lives in another era, in the glory of the 18th century, andhas no real connection to the world in which she actually lives,” Siljatold Billboard.  “She is a woman who can look at herpresent through the knowledge and experience of the past. For me thereare a lot of similarities because I, too, can look at the present basedon the long life experience and career that I have had,” she says.
“I like the role of the Countess because she is a woman who is verysure of herself. Even if she seems somewhat detached, she doesn’t justcare about herself and how she looks but she also cares about thegranddaughter she loves. Being a mother and grandmother myself helps meunderstand her much better,” says Silja.
“I have performed this role in many productions, and I am very happy tobe back with the Israeli Opera in this beautiful production ofPique Dame.”
Pique Dame opens June 25 at The Israeli Opera-Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at NIS 175.