Metropolitan Opera 2019-20 Preview: Lise Davidsen To Join Historic List of Lisa Interpreters in ‘The Queen of Spades’

By David Salazar

This Friday, the Metropolitan Opera revives “The Queen of Spades” for the first time in 8 years. While the opera is often renowned for being a major tenor showcase, this year’s production is putting the spotlight on soprano Lise Davidsen, who will be making her Met debut.

She will be the latest in a rather short line of sopranos to take on the role of Lisa. Here is a look at the singers whose footsteps she is set to follow.

Emmy Destinn was the first singer to take on the famed role back on March 5, 1910 when the opera had its Met Opera premiere under the musical direction of Gustav Mahler. The work would only get four performances that season, marking the end of Destinn’s association with the role at the Met.

The opera would disappear from the Met stage for 55 years until Teresa Stratas took on the role alongside Jon Vickers. She gave a whopping 16 performances of the role between 1965 and 1967. Stratas shared the role with soprano Felicia Weathers, who wound up with six performances over the course of the two seasons.

In 1972, it was Raina Kabaivanska’s turn to take on Lisa; she got five performances that season. Teresa Kubiak got one performance that season while Marcia Baldwin got two to close out the run.

The opera then got another 22-year hiatus, returning in 1995 with Karita Mattila as Lisa. She wound up with 11 between that 1995 run and a later one in 2011; she was the last singer to take on the role .

Maria Guleghina also got three performances of the opera in 1995-96 and would return for an additional seven in 2008-09. In 1999, Galina Gorchakova got another eight performances in her iconic portrayal of the role.

At the turn of the century, the opera returned in 2004 with Katarina Dalayman as Lisa for four performances and Adrianne Pieczonka, in her Met debut, getting another four performances.