Opera Vlaanderen continues its fascinating exploration of Russian opera. 'The Gambler' (1915-­'16) was the first full-length work that Prokofiev wrote for musical theatre. The source of inspiration was the partially autobiographical novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which, ironically enough, the illustrious author wrote to pay off gambling debts. And although the composer was working from a literary classic, his aim was to breathe new life into opera as a genre, moving away from the Russian opera tradition of the 19th century. 

The story: At a spa resort, with the highly significant name of Roulettenburg, daily life is dominated by avarice, blackmail and hidden agendas. A general and his stepdaughter Polina are both heavily indebted to a Marquis. Only Alexei, the tutor for the general's family, has a lucky streak at the gambling table. With immense sums of money, he aims to win over Polina and liberate her from her dire situation, but she rejects him flat-out. There is nothing left for Alexei but to continue to play. From an outsider, he has been transformed into a gambling addict. Rien ne va plus!

With this production, the German star director Karin Henkel will be making her long-awaited opera debut. The role of the gambling addict will be performed by the Czech tenor Ladislav Elgr and Polina will be played by the Russian soprano Anna Nechaeva, who has been a soloist at the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow since 2012. Musical direction will be in the capable hands of our regular ambassador of the Russian Repertoire, Dmitri Jurowski.
Length: 2 h 40 min including 1 interval   Russian with Dutch surtitles  

Discover our team

Dmitri Jurowski
Karin Henkel
Anna Nechaeva
Ladislav Elgr

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