Straightforward Gambler from the Mariinsky

The 2010 recording of Prokofiev’s The Gambler from the Mariinsky Theatre is a bit of a mixed bag.  It’s a complicated opera about obsession and power and it needs a strong production and a director who can get coherent performances out of a large cast to fully succeed.  Temur Chkhiedze doesn’t really manage it.  The production is very straightforward, set in slightly abstracted versions of a hotel, a casino etc and at times it is brought to life by the clever lighting of Gleb Fishtinsky but it doesn’t do enough to establish any real purpose for the piece.  It’s not helped by some very broad acting, especially from Sergei Aleksaskin’s General which is further emphasized by video director Laurent Gentot’s heavy use of close ups.

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