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

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


norman lebrecht

October 29, 2019

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.’



  • LeMaitreSansMarteau says:

    He’s a magnificently careful and attentive MD – I’m sure that will all pay off for him in NYC

  • MusicBear88 says:

    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.

    • Nik says:

      So getting through it would be good enough for the Met? Shouldn’t they be aiming for a higher standard in their casting?

      • John Rook says:

        Shame that Vladimir Galouzin isn’t singing any more. Now, that was a Herman…

        • Nik says:

          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?

          • Yes Addison says:

            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.

  • Peter Feltham says:

    Vasily seems to be a genuinely nice man despite being a Liverpool supporter.

  • Hal Sacks says:

    The current music director of The Met also was a choir boy at Westminster Choir College and it has served him well.

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    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.

  • Carlo says:

    Tonight? Premiere is on nov 29….

  • Shirley Moyer says:

    Opening is NOVEMBER 29!

  • Nicely said. Bravo.

  • Craig Z says:

    Going on December 18. With the MET debut of Lise Davidsen and Petrenko conducting, should be very special.

  • Rob says:

    The Queen of Spades is Tchaikovsky’s greatest opera! A total, unrivalled masterpiece.