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seit/since 1999

Pique Dame in English


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Vienna State Opera in June 1999

June 4, 1999

Pique Dame

Opera at its best !

Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo als Hermann
Text by  Birgit Popp, Photos by Axel Zeininger

The audience of the Vienna State Opera experienced with the 'Pique Dame'-performance on June 4, 1999, an absolute highlight of opera. Everything was right: the singers, the orchestra, the production. Conducted by Seiji Ozawa the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera and the outstanding cast (Plácido Domingo, Sergej Leiferkus, Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Rita Gorr, Galina Gorchakova) kept the arc of tension from the first to the last second in the thrilling love and gambler drama of Peter I. Tschaikowski. A from the first note with splendor in excellent form singing Plácido Domingo gave a stirring Hermann. In his singing and acting he explored all facets of the from love and passion to Lisa and the gambling driven character, who destroys in the end the Countess, Lisa and himself. From Russian people he earned moreover much praise for his Russian diction. In the two Russian baritones Sergej Leiferkus as his friend Count Tomski and Dimitri Hvorostovsky as Prince Jeletzki he found two colleagues of equal rank, whose voices spread absolute baritonal delight. Lanky, of majestic appearance Dimitri Hvorostovsky did not only play a prince, he is a prince. How his voice contrasted with Plácido Domingo's in the first scene was just perfect.

The great applause for Rita Gorr as Countess in the title role was also absolutely justified. When the 73-year-old mezzo soprano, who had belonged in the fifties and sixties to one of the most celebrated mezzos, sang her aria in remembrance of her youth at Paris, you could hear the pin drop. With Galina Gorchakova a young, upcoming soprano gave with a clear voice especially in the medium register and much feeling an emotionally torn Lisa, but showing some tendency for tremolo in the heights.

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Dimitri Hvorostovsky und Galina Gorchakova

Seiji Ozawa left the singers the time to develop the opera's whole range of dramatic and tragic, the Russian melancholy and the emotion-loaded richness of melodies. Under his baton the orchestra brought precisely to bear the whole variety of colors and rousing dynamic. Bassoons, trombones, tuba and timpani painted a tension-driving picture, the strings made the air vibrate and the souls tremble. From the first moment on the music cleared a path for the disaster. The with fine lighting effects playing, dark stage setting of Andreas Reinhardt in the pleasant traditionally '82 production of Kurt Horres did the rest. The audience did not watch a game, it became witness of the action in Alexander Puschkin's novella.

The wish of the composer Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski quoted in the program became reality; 'I wrote it with unusual fire and enthusiasm, have lively gone through all occurrences, was a part of it, what has gone as far that I was afraid of the appearance of the ghost of Pique Dame, and I hope now that all enthusiasm, all my excitement and devotion will find its response in the hearts of the receptive listeners.' It did find in an unforgettable evening !

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