St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre

The Gambler

opera by Sergei Prokofiev

Performed in Russian (the performance will have synchronised Russian and English supertitles)



Gurgen Petrosyan

Alexei: Sergei Semishkur
Pauline: Yekaterina Solovyova
The General: Oleg Sychov
Granny: Olga Savova
The Marquis: Alexander Trofimov
Mr Astley: Yevgeny Ulanov
Blanche: Olga Baranenko

World premiere: 29 April 1929, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels (performed in French, translation by Paul Spaak)
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 5 December 1991
Premiere of this production: 21 June 2007

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes
The performance has one interval

Age category 16+


Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Libretto by the composer after the novella of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Stage Director: Temur Chkheidze
Set Designer: Zinovy Margolin
Costume Designer: Tatiana Noginova
Lighting Designer: Gleb Filshtinsky
Lighting Adaptation for the Mariinsky II by Andrei Ponizovsky and Yegor Kartashov
Director: Yuri Laptev
Principal Chorus Master: Konstantin Rylov
Musical Preparation: Marina Mishuk


The action unfolds in 1865 in the fictional town of Roulettenburg near Spa.

In the spa town of Roulettenburg, famed for its gaming houses, fate has brought together the retired General, Polina (his step-daughter), Alexei Ivanovich (the tutor of his children), the Marquis, Mr Astley and Mademoiselle Blanche of the demi-monde.

The general has lost his fortune at roulette and is in debt to the Marquis. Moreover, the charms of Mademoiselle Blanche have completely turned his head. All of the General and his friends' hopes lie on the fortune of a rich Grandmother in Moscow, and they eagerly await news of her death. Instead of a telegram, however, the Grandmother herself arrives and, viewing the situation with a sober mind, resolves to disinherit the General. Intrigued by stories about roulette, she decides to see it with her own eyes. The Grandmother leaves the gaming house, having lost almost everything she had.

The General sees marriage of his step-daughter to the Marquis as the only solution to this desperate problem. But Polina, having been subjected to the attentions of the Marquis, now understands the utter lowliness of the man, and the fact that she owes him a large sum of money makes her dependence even more torturous. Alexei Ivanovich promises Polina to procure the money. In the casino he has the most fantastic luck: he breaks the bank – twenty thousand francs. Polina, however, sensing that this is not money from a man in love with her but from the gambler's good luck, throws it into Alexei Ivanovich's face.

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