I was a choirboy in this opera, now I’m conducting it at the Met

Vasily Petrenko sang his first Queen of Spades in a St Petersburg boys’ chorus. In a month, he’ll conduct it in his Met debut.

‘I want to find the balance and delicacy of the score,’ he says. ‘In The Queen of Spades there are many delicate, quiet moments; probably the main climaxes happen in the quiet moments rather than the loud moments — the psychological climaxes. If there is coherence between what’s going on visually onstage and what it says in the music, that can make an incredible effect.’


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  • Queen of Spades opens a month from tonight, on November 29th. I hope that Aleksandrs Antonenko is able to get through it; he sang part of one Samson et Dalila in the spring and then Gregory Kunde took over the rest of the run.

        • Indeed, I saw him at the Met in 2011. I also remember Atlantov, another giant in that role.
          But even now there are surely better options available than a clapped-out Antonenko. In Salzburg last year we had Jovanovich, different in style but admirable in his own right. Can’t the Met get hold of him?

          • Jovanovich has something high-profile of his own going on on the dates (Berlin Samson et Dalila with Garanča and Barenboim). It won’t surprise me if Antonenko is replaced in the Met performances he’s still scheduled for, but I doubt Jovanovich will do the replacing.

  • VP is a talented conductor who made a strange career move by taking the MD job at the failing Royal Philarmonic Orchestra which specializes in mediocre main stream repertoire or film music at the Royal Albert Hall.

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