The last evening of the opera season brought us yesterday to the staging of ‘Pique Dame’ the beautiful creation of Tchaikovsky based on the novella by Pushkin – a story of passion and obsession, which gives the opportunity of great performances to the singers of the principal roles, but also offers beautiful arias and moments of charm and drama to the singers in the supporting roles. The complex story and the staging close to the court of empress Ekaterina allows for Tchaikovsky to include an opera in opera fragment, as well as a glory chorus for the empress, with quotes and bows to the music of the 18th century. The libretto itself written by Tchaikovsky brother and based on Pushkin’s text has many memorable moments with the ‘Life’s a Game’ area in the final scene poignant by both music and words.

(video source IsraeliOpera)

Bringing to stage Russian operas comes natural for the team at the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv. Many of the singers and musicians are born, studied and worked in the former Soviet Union, or belong to families coming from that part of the globe, they are familiar and feel well the Russian music and tradition. The staging here belongs to Theatre Wielki National Opera in Warshaw directed by Mariusz Trelinski. Splendid sets dominated by black and red were created by Boris Kudlicka, and the usage of video projects is inspired and gives the scenes a lyric atmosphere. Ukrainian tenor Viktor Lutsiuk was a good Herman, a role that he brought to Israel already with the opera Marinskiy. Ira Bertman was a beautiful and dignified Lisa, and she gets close to the pick of her career, and to the position of local diva in Tel Aviv. As in many other cases the presence of the young singers coming from the Opera Studio brought freshness and quality to the stage – with Shira Raz and Shira Shafir making the best of the musical opportunities in the roles of the Governess and of Masha.

‘Pique Dame’ ended a season I was a little bit concerned about as it was the season after the anniversary of the renewal of the opera activity in Tel Aviv. It was a good one however – in its second quarter of century of existence the New Israeli Opera shows both maturity as well as allows for the influx of young singers and musicians to express themselves providing innovation and quality.