Local Opera Star Returns to Lyric Opera for Tchiakovsky's The Queen of Spades

​Tchaikovsky is justly famous for setting tales of thwarted love and tragic heartbreak, such as Eugene Onegin, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet, to lushly romantic music. Although it’s less frequently performed, in part because of the fierce demands of its leading roles, The Queen of Spades is instantly recognizable for the passionate beauty and intensity of Tchaikovsky’s composition.

The gripping, suspenseful take incorporates the elements of gothic horror and spooky, surrealistic puppetry to weave a psychological thriller that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. 

Conceived by British director Richard Jones (winner of five Olivier Awards), this production won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Opera and the Barclays Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Benjamin Davis is the revival director. Returning the Chicago area to star in the production as Lisa,  soprano and Berwyn native Sondra Radvanosvsky is known for her fiery intensity and musicality. She’ll join an esteemed cast that includes tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Gherman, mezzo-soprano Jane Henschel will make her Lyric Opera debut as the cryptic Countess; bass Samuel Youn will sing Tomsky, Gherman’s fellow soldier; and baritone Lucas Meachem will return as Lisa’s fiance Prince Yeletsky; and mezzo-soprano and Ryan Opera Center alumna Elizabeth DeShong will sing Lisa’s friend, Pauline.  Lyric Opera Orchestra will be led by principal conductor, Sir Andrew Davis. The Queen of Spades is the same work that inaugurated Davis’ first season as Lyric’s music director in 2000. Michael Black will serve as chorus master for the opera.  

Scenery and costumes are designed by John Macfarlane. The original lighting designs by Jennifer Tipton will be overseen by revival lighting designer Chris Maravich. And the original choreography by the late Linda Dobell will be re-created by revival choreographer Anjali Mehra (Lyric debut).

Sung in Russian with English translations projected above the stage, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spaces will be performed in five performances: February 15, 19, 23, and 26 and March 1.

​For more information and to order tickets, visit or call 312-827-5600.


The Queen of Spades (photo by Michael Cooper courtesy of Canadian Opera Company).