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The Gambler, Royal Opera House | reviews, news & interviews

The Gambler, Royal Opera House

The Gambler, Royal Opera House

The human zoo of Prokofiev's Dostoyevskian casino is viewed with sharp compassion

Gamblers anon: Prokofiev's Dostoevsky staged by Richard JonesClive Barda

Fasten your seatbelts; it's a bumpy ride to the casino. In Prokofiev's wilful but uncompromising take on Dostoyevsky's tale of obsession, all the private paths of love, lust and greed lead to the gambling tables - eventually. The composer saves up one of the most adrenalin-charged scenes in 20th-century opera for the last act, giving director and conductor some headaches in generating interest and comprehensibility along the way. With a dedication we can only imagine, Richard Jones and Antonio Pappano have solved Prokofiev the chess master's conundrum better than in any previous production I've seen.

If you've seen Jones's ENO production of Berg's Lulu, you'll get the reference to the human menagerie

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