A Memorable Evening At The Lyon Opera: ‘The Queen Of Spades’ – OpEd


On the evening of March 16, 2024, we were treated to an unforgettable opera experience in Lyon. The renowned opera “The Queen of Spades” (La Dame de Pique) by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was brought to life on stage by the young and talented Russian director Timofey Kulyabin. Born in 1984, Kulyabin skillfully adapted the work from its original 1890s setting to a contemporary context.

In this timeless narrative, transcending boundaries of time and space, three Russian figures stand tall: poet Alexander Pushkin, composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and director Timofey Kulyabin. Their collaboration, embodied in Lisa’s poignant portrayal, marked the opening act of the festival. Under the baton of conductor Daniele Rustioni, Russian and Ukrainian vocalists were united for this production.

The rendition we witnessed offered a fresh reinterpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Kulyabin’s direction and approach imbued the original story with themes that resonated with today’s emotional and social landscapes, providing opera enthusiasts with a truly unique experience.

Beyond its artistic merits, Kulyabin’s work also carries a powerful political message. His outspoken opposition to the war in Ukraine led to a ban on his productions in Russia. Nevertheless, he assembled Russian and Ukrainian opera talents in France, underscoring his commitment to artistic freedom and peace. “The Queen of Spades” marked Kulyabin’s debut opera production in France, where he infused the piece with contemporary relevance, exploring themes of love, obsession, and madness.

The Lyon Opera, with its majestic architecture boasting six balconies and impeccable acoustics, served as a fitting venue for the premiere of “The Queen of Spades.” The elaborate stage sets, exquisite costumes, and captivating performances created an indelible experience for the audience.

Our evening at the Lyon Opera, witnessing “The Queen of Spades,” was a poignant testament to the transcendent power of art and its ability to communicate across cultures and eras. Timofey Kulyabin’s visionary direction and adaptation to the present day ensured that opera lovers were treated to an unforgettable performance, pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. This landmark premiere once again underscored the unifying and inspiring force of art at the Lyon Opera.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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