The Queen of Spades turns up a winning hand

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal debuted this year’s season with a bang, as The Queen of Spades mesmerized the audience transforming them into its subjects in its world premiere last week.
This $750,000 production masterfully dramatizes the human condition, demonstrating the lust for money, prestige and love.
Based on the novella by the Russian author Alexander Pushkin and adapted from Tchaikovsky opera by Gabriel Thibaudeau, The Queen of Spades tells the story of a young Soviet soldier, named Hermann (Olivier Wecxsteen), obsessed with the idea of fame and fortune.
Hermann learns that the secret to winning at cards is held by an old countess, danced by the remarkable Stephana Arnold, who longs for the days when she was revered as a young, successful aristocratic beauty.
In order to get close to the countess, Hermann pursues her niece Lisa (Heidi Rood). Hungry for the ideal romantic love Lisa ignorantly falls for his charm but in the end becomes the victim in a love story edited by greed.
When Hermann finals gets to the countess his quest for the secret to success results in her death and his torment due to guilt. At her funeral, he dreams her ghost visits him and in a gesture of forgiveness she reveals the 3 winning cards, 3, 7 and ace.
The story ends as it begins, in a gambling club with the desperation of a soldier as he loses everything when he draws the queen of spades.
The story line is in constant movement from the two divided worlds it encompasses, that of the set 1938 Stalinist Russia and the fantastical world of the countess’ past.
The incorporated multimedia effects magically help open the time portal for the audience as they dance through these two eras.
The video imagery for the ballet was done by Sylvain Robert, a multimedia teacher at Concordia. These images projected on the screens of fiberglass, used to enhance the flashback sequences, serve as a bridge of the classical world of ballet to modern performance art.
Arnold’s representation of a bitter old woman desperate for her youthful splendor tugged at the hearts’ of the audience. While, Jo


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