Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades
Krešimir Baranović
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4826903
Barcode
00028948269037
Format
3-CD
About

A first international release on CD for the first recording in stereo of Tchaikovsky’s tragic masterpiece of obsession.

With this and six companion issues, Eloquence makes available for the first time on CD the seven complete Russian operas recorded in 1955 by Decca with the company of the Belgrade Opera.

Fresh from a successful tour of ‘Boris Godunov’ in Switzerland the previous year, the Belgrade Opera in 1955 was keen to make an impression on an international public. At the same time, the Decca company perceived a cost-effective but artistically assured opportunity to expand both its small but rapidly growing stereo catalogue and its opera discography with classics of the Russian opera repertoire which it had previously not been possible to record in the original language.

Known in Russian as ‘Pikovaya Dama’, in English as ‘The Queen of Spades’ and in much of the rest of the opera-going world as ‘Pique Dame’, the opera holds to its chest a card-trick, the secret of which drives the young officer Herman insane. The story elicited from Tchaikovsky a score of almost relentless intensity, unparalleled in his output except by the ‘Pathétique’ Symphony, yet he placed at its heart a pastiche eighteenth-century masque which is his most moving offering to the spirit of his beloved Mozart. In Herman (sung here by Alexander Marinković) and the innocent Lisa (Valerija Heybal), Tchaikovsky and his brother Modest, acting as librettist, created a portrait of doomed love as rich and complex as a mature Verdian music-drama.

Recorded in both mono and stereo but originally issued only in mono, the stereo versions were held back and finally released in Europe in the 1960s, by which time the Belgrade Opera had acquired an international reputation for excellence. Remastered for this release from the original stereo tapes, this is a demonstration-quality example of the renowned early Decca sound.

The booklet for this newly remastered release prints both a synopsis and an essay by Peter Quantrill giving full historical context to the Belgrade opera recordings.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
The Queen of Spades
(Pikovaya Dama · Pique Dame)

Herman, Alexander Marinković
Count Tomsky, Jovan Gligorijević
Prince Yeletsky, Dušan Popović
Countess, Melanija Bugarinović
Liza, Valerija Heybal
Polina, Biserka Cvejić
Chekalinsky, Dragutin Petrović
Surin,  Alexander Veselinović
Chaplitsky, Zivojin Iovanović
Narumov, Vladimir Popović
Governess, Mira Vershevich
Masha, Anne Jeninek
Major-Domo, Nikola Janchich
Prilepa/Chloë, Sofija Janković
Milovzor/Daphnis, Biserka Cvejić
Zlatogor/Pluto, Jovan Gligorijević

Nursemaids, governesses, wet-nurses, promenaders, guests, children, gamblers, etc.

Yugoslav Army Chorus
Children’s Choir of Radio Belgrade
Orchestra of the National Opera, Belgrade
Krešimir Baranović

FIRST INTERNATIONAL CD RELEASE ON DECCA. STEREO RECORDING

Track previews
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Idyot yeshcho?"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Obvorozhitelno!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Ya vas lyublyu"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Posle predstavleniya"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Zachem zhe eti slyozy"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Ostanovites"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Prosti, prelestnoe sozdanye"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Liza, otvori!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "O poshchadi menya!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Se non e vero"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Uzh vecher"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Da, vspomnilna. Podrugi milie"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Radostno, veselo v den sei"
Pique Dame (Pikovaya Dama), Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Mesdemoiselles"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Nakonets-to Bog"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "A ty uveren"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Mne strashno!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Kakaya vedma"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Odnazhdy v Versalye"
Pique Dame (Pikovaya Dama), Op. 68, TH.10: Overture
Pique Dame (Pikovaya Dama), Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Gori, gori yasno"
Pique Dame (Pikovaya Dama), Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Chem konchilas vchera igra?"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Khozyain prosit dorogikh"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Kto pylko i strastno lyubya!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Knyaz! knyaz, prosti menya!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Ona mertva! Sbylos"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Gospod! Prosti yemu!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Dana!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Yeslib miliya devitsy"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Tak v nenastnye dni"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Chto nasha zhizn?"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Akh! istomilas ya gorem"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "A yesli mne otvet"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "O da, minovali stradanya"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Budem pit i veselitsa!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: Entr'acte
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Kak ty mila"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Ya neveryu chtoby"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act III: "Uzh polnoch blizitsya"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Vsyo tak, kakmne ona skazala"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Shagi! syuda idut"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Akh, postyl mne etot svet!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Je crains de lui parler la nuit"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Ne pugaites!"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Khozyain prosit dorogikh"
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: Dance of the Shepherds and Shepherdesses
Pique Dame, Op. 68, TH.10, Act II: "Moi milenki druzhok"
Pique Dame (Pikovaya Dama), Op. 68, TH.10, Act I: "Ya imeni yeyo ne znayu"
Recording information

Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson (mono), Roy Wallace (stereo
Recording Location: House of Culture, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 5–9 & 11 September 1955
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
Original LP Releases: Decca LXT 5189–92 mono; London XLL 1413–16 / XLLA 44 stereo; Decca ‘Ace of Diamonds’ GOS 568–70 stereo

Reviews

‘The recording is excellent, with depth and ample sonority … Marinkovic makes a striking character of horrid Herman … The overall conception seems to me highly authentic.’ Gramophone

‘[Valerija Heybal] possesses a warm and appealing voice … There is plenty of excitement and the quality of recording is good.’ Opera