Staging opera is difficult. There is something twee to lush period productions; there is something objectionable to excessive and irrelevant grotesqueries of Regietheater. A middle path—stagings that are significant and meaningful for modern audiences, but still loyal to the spirit of their original librettos—is hard to find. Happily, the Lowell House Opera’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “Queen of Spades,” which ran March 25 through April 4, navigated this problem with aplomb and magnificence.
Gherman, played by Mikhail Urusov and Adam Klein on alternating nights, is a patient in a mental hospital who has two obsessions: cards and Liza (Zoya Gramagin and Samantha Schmid). Liza is engaged to Yeletsky (Adam Pistole and Jacob Scharfman), to Gherman’s deep chagrin. The mental patient machinates to extract the card-playing secrets of Liza’s mother, the Countess or “the Queen of Spades,” (Kylee Slee and Giliana Norkunas), so that he may amass a fortune and elope with his