Sergej Prokofjew

Der Spieler


In the midst of the carnage of World War I, 23-year old Sergei Prokofiev escapes to his desk and frantically writes down "The Gambler" – an opera on Fyodor Dostoyevskys autobiographical novel. In fictive “Roulettenburg”, a strange clique of trundling figures has gathered, all lusting after money, gambling, affection, among them a retired general expecting a substantial legacy that would allow him to settle his debts. All men, including her private tutor Alexej, idolize his stepdaughter – but all plans scatter, all hopes are dashed, and leave behind a doomed circle of lost characters…
10 October 2017
19:30 - 22:00
1 intermission
Prices G add to calendar

Cast | 10.10.2017

Conductor Simone Young
Director Karoline Gruber
Set design Roy Spahn
Costumes Mechthild Seipel
Lighting Ulrich Schneider
Choreography Stella Zannou
Dramaturg Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach
General a.D. Dmitry Ulyanov
Polina Elena Guseva
Alexej Misha Didyk
Babulenka Linda Watson
Marquis Thomas Ebenstein
Blanche Elena Maximova
Mr. Astley Morten Frank Larsen


Act 1
Alexei, tutor to the General’s children, has gambled away the money given him by Polina, his heartthrob and stepdaughter of the General. The General is hoping for news of the death of Babulenka, as with his inheritance he can pay his debts to the Marquis and marry Blanche. Mr Astley observes the proceedings. Alexei is vexed by Polina’s mysterious history with the Marquis, but he admits that he has fallen for her charms. The Marquis lends the General more money under extortionate conditions. Polina plays with emotions, doubts Alexei’s devotion and orders him to offend Baron and Baroness Wurmerhelm. Alexei does so immediately.

As a consequence of his behaviour towards the Wurmerhelms, Alexei loses his position with the General, who apologizes to them. Alexei is outraged by this patronization and wants to challenge the General to a duel, but Mr Astley is able to disabuse him of the notion. Two years earlier, Blanche had flirted with Baron Wurmerhelm and caused a scandal. Now she hopes he has not recognized her and is intent on avoiding any kind of uproar.
The Marquis tries to intervene and hands Alexei a scolding letter from Polina that discourages him from carrying out his plan. The Marquis and Blanche believe they are safe. Completely unexpectedly the supposedly mortally ill Babulenka enters and announces firmly that she would rather gamble away her fortune herself than bequeath it to anyone else. She asks Alexei to help her.

Act 3
Accompanied by Alexei, Babulenka loses her cash assets at the gambling table, thereby dashing the General’s hopes. Despairing, he and the Marquis turn to Alexei and entreat him to stop Babulenka from gambling. Meanwhile Blanche gets involved with the rich Prince Nilsky. Alexei learns that the Marquis has a hold over Polina too and offers her his support. After losing huge sums of money, Babulenka decides to leave and invites Polina to go with her. However, Polina wants to get her affairs in order first. The General fails in his last attempt to take the money from Babulenka.

Act 4
After Babulenka’s departure, Polina seeks refuge with Alexei. The Marquis orders the sale of the General’s pawned property and humiliatingly forgives Polina her debts. Alexei wants to help her and decides to raise the money at the gaming table. He does in fact win a fortune by betting time and again on red. He gives Polina the amount that she owes the Marquis. Polina feels that she has been bought. She throws the money back in his face and leaves him. Alexei is left alone: “Red came up twenty times, always red!”