Bastille Opera, Paris 2005. Director: Lev Dodin. Cast: Vladimir Galouzine (Hermann), Hasmik Papin (Lisa), Ludovic Tezier (Jeletski), Christianne Stotijn (Pauline), Nikolai Putilin (Tomskij), Irina Bogatcheva (Countess). Cond: Gennadi Rozdestvensky.
Lev Dodin´s Pique Dame takes place in Hermann´s mind while he is confined to a psychiatric ward. The stage is horizontally split in two, where much of the action takes place on the upper level as imaginations of Hermann´s twisted brain. The characters parade back and forth overlooking the ward, some looking like fellow psychiatric inmates or nurses.
This concept is well in accordance with Pusjkin´s novel, where Hermann is also confined to a psychiatric institution, while Lisa marries another man. The point, however is not whether this is in accordance with either Pusjkin or Tchaikovsky, but rather: Is it entertaining? enlightening? Does it add something to the score? In this case, no. The sets are grim and the sense of the eerie and supernatural, often very strong in this opera, is lost.
However, Vladimir Galouzine is quite convincing as the genuinely mad Hermann and in fine voice as well. Unfortunately Hasmik Papian is not a particularly interesting Lisa. Among the others Ludovic Tézier stood out as a fine Jeletski.
Rozdestvensky is not a bad conductor, but seems slightly pale.
The bottom line:
Vladimir Galouzine: 4
Hasmik Papian: 3
Ludovic Tezier: 4
Lev Dodin´s production: 2
Overall impression: 2