Conductor – Honoured Artist of Russia, People's Artist of the Republic of Belarus, laureate of the National Theatre Award "Golden Mask", laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus, Alexandr Anisimov;
Stage Director – laureate of State Prize of the Republic of Tatarstan named after G. Tukai Michail Pandzhavidze;
Production Designer – Elena Soloviova;
Lighting Designer – Sergey Shevchenko;
Chorus master – Olga Safronova;
Photographer – Elizaveta Sukhova.
Herman, a humble officer, is desperately in love with a rich and high-born girl Lisa who is engaged to Prince Eletsky. From his friend Count Tomsky Herman learns a mystical story about Lisa’s grandmother, the Countess, who had learnt the secret of the three ever-winning cards and was predicted to die by the hands of a man seeking to learn the secret. Lisa is uneasy and would not be diverted by her friends. She is attracted to Herman instead of her own fiancé. Herman steals into Lisa’s room and confesses his love which is eventually reciprocated.
Prince Yeletsky is suffering from Lisa’s indifference. He notes her sadness and reassures Lisa of his love. But Lisa rejects the count. A pastoral is given at a ball, starring Eletsky and Lisa. After that Lisa invites Herman to her room and gives him a key which leads to the Countess’ bedroom as well. Now Herman thinks that he is destined to learn the secret of the three cards. Herman encounters the Countess in her bedroom and pleads to tell him her secret, then threatens her. She dies.
Herman, haunted by the thoughts of the dead woman, reads a letter from Lisa, who wants him to meet her at midnight by the river bank. The Countess’ ghost appears, announcing that against her will she must tell him the secret so that he can marry Lisa and save her from disgrace. Dazed, Herman repeats the three cards: three, seven, ace. Lisa waits for Herman: it is already near midnight yet Herman is not there. Lisa is desperate. At last Herman appears, but after uttering words of reassurance, he starts to babble wildly about the Countess and her secret and that he has to rush to the gambling house. Lisa cannot hold Herman back, nor make any sense of her life anymore. Patrons entertain themselves at a gambling house. Tomsky is surprised by the appearance of Yeletsky, because the Prince has never been here before. Yeletsky explains that he came to take his revenge on Herman. Herman appears and draws everyone’s attention: it’s the first time he gambles. He is betting on two cards – three and seven, and they win. His luck surprises and scares everyone. No one wants to gamble with him. Yeletsky accepts his challenge to bet on the next round. Herman bets everything he has on the ace but when he shows his card he is holding the queen of spades. Seeing the Countess' ghost laughing at her vengeance, Herman takes his own life and his last thoughts are about Lisa.
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).
Libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky, after the novel by Alexander Pushkin.
World premiere: December 19, 1890