‘Queen of Spades’ soloists form a winning hand

The Queen of Spades by John Byam Liston Shaw


Wrapped in the haze of Sydney’s present heatwave, it is easy to slumber through the wealth of talent that is in toen this weekend, specifically to perform in the Sydney Symphony’s concert version of Tchaikovsky’s opera Queen of Spades. Vladimir Ashkenazy who is conducting the performances has selected some of the best of Russian and homegrown talent to sing the roles of the soloists.

The focus of attention will no doubt be Stuart Skelton, singing the role of Hermann. It’s been a phenomenal year for him with appearances at the Met and Covent Garden, and singing the role of Peter Grimes at the Proms and in Tokyo. (Click here to read the Sydney Morning herald feature on him, and here to read our interview with him earlier this year) .

The Ukranian baritone Andrei Bondarenko could well be the big reveal of the evening, singing the role of Yelitsky – and that famous aria. Bondarenko (b 1987) was a finalist in the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World competition, winning the Song Prize. He has already appeared at Carnegie Hall and Glyndebourne.

Contralto Deborah Humble is a welcome return to the Sydney stage as Pauline/Daphnis -Milosvor. It will be a tough call as to which aria is more lush – Yeletsky’s or Pauline’s.

Watch out too for soprano Dina Kuznetsova as Lisa and mezzo-soprano, Irina Tschistyakova as the Countess; baritone José Carbó sings Tomsky with tenor Angus Wood back on the Sydney stage as Chekalinsky, bass-baritone Gennadi Dubinsky  as Surin and mezzo-soprano Victoria Lambourn as the Governess.


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