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Susan Gorton as The Countess in the new WNO production of Tchaikovsky's 'The Queen of Spades'. Photo (c) 2000 Clive Barda

Susan Gorton's Countess is a marvel : her walk alone makes this a desert island performance; the gloriously quavering nostalgia aria that precedes her death is a wonderful, outrageous piece of indulgence by Tchaikovsky, verging on The Merry Widow, that works.

Susan Gorton as The Countess in the new WNO production of Tchaikovsky's 'The Queen of Spades'. Photo (c) 2000 Clive Barda

WNO's Russian-singing is top notch - evidence, perhaps, of the work of the outstanding Moscow repetiteur and language coach Luba Orfenova. Each of the women leads have at least one set piece, distinctively delivered - Polina's aria (Emma Selway) in Act I; the Governess (Sarah Pope); and Liza in all three acts. The duet between Liza and Polina which opens scene 2 is pure heaven, and so are the female choruses. And the men's chorus - especially the last scene mass merriment which offsets Herman's private assignation with death, is marvellously vital and on cue.

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Copyright © 23 September 2000 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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