“After Andris Dzenītis (dressed in a beautiful white shirt with blue folk motives) received his deserved applause, it was a beautiful and imposing Kristine Opolais that took the stage to sing Liza’s ariosofrom The Queen of Spadesand Tatyana’s Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, these pieces interspersed with Polonaise from the latter opera. It is interesting how interpretation and a singer’s personality could change everything – thus, with Opolais on stage Pushkin’s heroines suddenly acquired a strong hinge of Verdi’s women (Tosca or Lady Macbeth). She articulated the words of the librettos (put on Pushkin’s prose and poetry) masterfully, taking special care for the Russian words of both operas to be distinctly heard. But interestingly enough she almost conspired against our expectations from Liza and especially Tatyana. Tatyana was the woman who had to decide here and now what to do with her love and, evidently, would not take Onegin’s ‘no’ for an answer, fighting for her love if she chose it was worth her while. Her dreams, her fears, her indecisions became less of a struggle, but rather a proud, distinctive and confident presentation of female logic where different angles of a particular torment could only lead to a successful, triumphant solution. In a way, it was as far from Tatyana’a character (as Pushkin has imagined her) as possible, but somehow Opolais made us believe that such vision of Pushkin and Tchaikovsky was viable and enticing. Her character’s triumph was also her own, and evidently such decision reflected her own victorious personality as she took her applause (and even a bouquet of flowers presented by a man) from the audiences.”

Russian Art and Culture

“There were no identity problems with the Tchaikovsky extracts – two heroines in thrall to mad, bad or sad men, with Kristine Opolais taking no prisoners in Lisa’s Act One scena from The Queen of Spades, and ‘Tatyana’s Letter Scene’ from Eugene Onegin. There were no texts, either printed or projected, but with Opolais’s impassioned, grand-standing delivery, the gist was clear enough, I suppose. As ever, she radiated glamour, her voice was on gleaming form, and her finely judged glides to and from notes and her caressing of pitch were fresh and seductive. The most affecting moment, though, came in Tatyana’s complicit amazement at what she is doing with her life, with Henrik Wahlgren’s oboe and Ralf Götz’s horn hovering in attendance like sorrowful guardian angels, and Opolais wondrously focused and disarmingly innocent.”

Classical Source

“…soprano Kristine Opolais, on the platform. The first-act arioso of unfortunate Lisa, besotted with card-obsessed Hermann in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, found her in true diva form, using long arms expressively for a theatrical kind of forlornness and doing an appropriate twirl to welcome the magic of a starlit night.”

The Arts Desk

“Kristine Opolais [was] on superlative form. In Liza’s third-act arioso from The Queen of Spades and the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, she truly brought to life her characters, without context, scenery, or titles. One knew and felt what Liza and Tatiana meant, what their plight was – and could have taken dictation, verbal or musical, from her. Hers were fully gestural performances too, very much those of a classic singing actress.”


“The smokiness to Opolais’ lower register in Tatyana’s Letter Scene was welcome and she acts convincingly, engaging the audience completely. You felt Tatyana’s whispered words of love, as she wonders whether Onegin is her guardian angel or some wily tempter, were directed straight at you.”


“Lisa’s Arioso from the first act of The Queen of Spades and Tatyana’s Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin certainly got the full diva treatment from Kristine Opolais, with stagey gestures and pressurised tone.”

The Guardian

“Kristine Opolais… sang das Arioso der Lisa so ausdrucksstark und voll selbstbewusster Autorität, dass man ihren Auftritt als ein persönliches Bekenntnis zu Wort und Ton empfand. Und wie sie nach der etwas motorisch abgespielten Polonaise aus Tschaikowkys „Eugen Onegin“ schließlich die Briefszene der Tatjana nicht nur intelligent gestaltete, sondern auch mit Momenten intensiver Innerlichkeit erfüllte, war großartig.”

Mannheimer Morgen