The opera deals with the destructive and isolating nature of an addiction to gambling. The filming is sensitive to both the perfectly composed set and the impressive acting. The director captures the claustrophobic atmosphere in the madhouse and the trapped situation of the main characters – trapped in love like Lisa, in obsession like Herman or in the past like the “Pique Dame”.
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“Quite mistakenly… Lev Dodin, the director of this version from Paris, has pulled the action as far back to the original story as he can manage. The price is the loss of most of the suspense, a lack of interesting characterisation, and boringly unchanging sets - it all takes place in a madhouse. Hermann relives the past... while gibbering around the stage throughout. Fortunately Vladimir Galouzine is a superb singer and actor, and makes everything he can of the role... His adversary, the Countess, is portrayed as a robust, not a crumbling figure, and Lisa becomes a cipher with some wonderful music to sing. Listen and you'll be impressed, watch and you'll be confused and irritated.”
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