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Dance performance based on the short story by Aleksandr Pushkin and the libretto of the opera by Modest Tchaikovsky to the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninov and Sergei Prokofiev


Director and choreographer — Anželika Cholina

Set designer — Marijus Jacovskis 

Costume designer — Olga Filatova 

Lighting artist — Tadas Valeika 

Hairdressing and make-up artist — Dalia Žakytė-Bučienė 

Sound director — Kristina Juškevičiūtė 



Hermann - Jonas Laucius 

Countess - Beata Molytė

Liza - Olesia Shaytanova 

Duke Yeletsky - Rokas Spalinskas 

Polina Sandra Lavrenovaitė  


   Three Neila Lavrenovaitė 

   Seven Ema Lavrenovaitė 

   Ace Sandra Lavrenovaitė



First night - 12 July 2021



Lietuvos Kultūros Taryba

Portrait of Aleksandr Pushkin. Art. Orest Kiprensky, 1827

“The passion for gambling is the strongest of passions”, said Alexander Pushkin, who was not, himself, indifferent to this passion. 



HERMANN’S FATE is in the hands of romanticized accidental luck– in the poor officer’s head it sparks the hope to curb capricious Fortuna. He comes to believe that if he uncovers the secret of three cards from the Countess, a trove of unlimited fortune and happiness will open up for him. This will help him achieve higher public status, move higher up the career ladder, and finally receive the desired attention from the woman he loves. Calculation is fighting ardour inside Hermann’s head. In his morbid imagination, inspired by the idea to quickly get rich, the Countess becomes a living person.

The Countess is a mystical character in the performance. She is both Hermann’s victim and the power Hermann plays with in devising his game strategy; yet ultimately, he himself becomes a victim of the game he has devised. 

False expectations, thoughts about immediate success, thirst for personal happiness, exaggerating the role of chance in a game and relying on it have turned games of chance a very risky occupation for entire generations to date.

Anželika Cholina 


Young officer Hermann spends his nights in gambling houses watching the game but not laying a hand on the cards. Passionate, imaginative Hermann feels anxious about a story told by his fellow gambler – about an old countess to whom count Saint Germaine, for a love night, revealed the secret of three winning cards at farrow: placing bets on them, the Countess would always win the game, thus growing fabulously rich.  

Hermann is in despair – he is in love with Liza who lives with her cousin Polina with the old Countess. Yet Liza is inaccessible to Hermann as he is indigent. Moreover, she is engaged to Duke Yeletsky.  

Obsessed by the desire to see Liza and to obtain the secret of the three cards from the Countess, Hermann comes to the Countess’s home every night. 

The life of the proud girl Liza in the home of the capricious old woman is intolerable. Liza notices the young officer who comes to their window every night. Hermann’s persistence makes her feel anxious. Liza sees him as her rescuer. She hopes for a tryst with Hermann and gives him the key. When night comes, Hermann opens up the door of the Countess’s home and… turns towards her bedroom. He begs her to reveal the secret of the three winning cards. The old woman resists. He begins to demand, threaten, and finally, the intimidated old woman dies. 

Liza learns that Hermann’s goal was not about feelings. Their love was all an illusion; she is filled with remorse as she unconsciously became responsible for the Countess’s death. 

Crushed Hermann returns to the barracks. He is obsessed with one thought: The Countess is dead and he has never learnt the secret of the three cards… 

Herman cannot fall asleep. He has a fever and lives through the events again. His imagination conjures up the Countess’s death. Horror-stricken, he wants to run, but the ghost of the Countess appears to him everywhere. He wakes up and hears steps, and recognises the Countess. She reveals to him the secret of the three cards…

The three, the seven and the ace persecute Hermann’s imagination and the self-created image of the Countess finally makes him believe in his luck in gambling. 

Being unable to resist the temptation, deranged Hermann comes to the gambling house and places huge bets, challenging Yeletsky. Hermann is in a state of euphoria – his three and seven won.  

The last bet – but instead of the awaited ace, a queen of spades appears in Hermann’s hand. It seems to Hermann that the queen of spades winks at him. He recognises the old Countess in the card… 

Hermann shoots himself.

A helio engraving of Countess Natalia Petrovna Golytsina


The legend behind this story originated in Egypt about 3,000 years ago, at the time of King Scorpion I, when the pharaohs had golden tablets with symbols that later evolved into Tarot cards, which were used to predict the future.

The symbols on the cards were so important that in order to protect them they were entrusted to a card game ‘the strongest of the passions, as Pushkin said. Pushkin was interested in the extraordinary story from the second half of the 18th century about Countess Natalia Golytsina, the ‘Russian Venus, who lived in Paris and lost badly while playing Faro, and turned for help to her lover, the Count of St Germain.

His real name is a mystery, but it is known that behind the pseudonym of St Germain was a person that was associated with the origins of hypnotism and was a key figure in the underground life of the occult. He was a member, and even the leader, of the Brotherhood of Luxor (the city of the dead in Egypt), which was associated with the spread of spiritualism in Europe.

St Germain did not give Golytsina any money, but he did show her the secret of the three cards, and that was how she replenished her fortune. The countess later shared the secret with her grandson, who also lost a lot of money, and for whom it turned out in the same way. Thus, Pushkins short story was based on events that really happened.

The upheavals of the French Revolution forced Natalia Golytsina to leave Paris for St Petersburg. There she settled in a house at No 10, on the crossing of Malaya Morskaya and Gorochovaya streets.

Piotr Tchaikovsky, during the last few years of his life, stayed in the home of his brother Modest, who lived opposite this house,and was ‘distracted by a man in black walking around the countess house ... who used to look out at the composers windows at night ...

The première of the opera The Queen of Spades, which Tchaikovsky wrote in 44 days, took place in 1890 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg ...