Iowa PBS and Des Moines Metro Opera present The Queen of Spades

Set against the backdrop of Imperial Russia, Tchaikovsky’s opera depicts a world where fate and fortune are a gamble. Des Moines Metro Opera Presents The Queen of Spades premieres Friday, October 29 at 8:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa PBS.

In this new production of a rarely-performed masterpiece, the soldier Gherman parlays his love for the young aristocrat Lisa into a life-and-death wager. In his own time, many considered The Queen of Spades to be Tchaikovsky’s finest opera. First performed in St. Petersburg in 1890, Iowa PBS’s exclusive coverage of Des Moines Metro Opera’s production was recorded on July 13, 2021, in Russian with English supertitles.

“When I am thinking about The Queen of Spades, I'm constantly struck with how fiendishly difficult it is to produce, to dig into,” said Stage Director Matthew Ozawa. “It's a piece that's so rarely performed.”

Des Moines Metro Opera Presents The Queen of Spades features the return of three popular artists to Des Moines Metro Opera, each making a debut in their respective role. Tenor Jonathan Burton plays the role of Gherman; soprano Sara Gartland is Lisa; and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle as the Countess celebrates her 140th role in the 51st year of her remarkable career.

“During a time where access to the arts has been limited, bringing talented artists and stunning performances like this to Iowans is incredibly valuable and rewarding,” said Iowa PBS Producer and Director Judy Blank.

Viewers will enjoy behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and creative team members, including Des Moines Metro Opera General and Artistic Director Michael Egel, Conductor David Neely and Stage Director Matthew Ozawa.

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