Known primarily as the composer of The Nutcracker Suite and other legendary pieces, Tchaikovsky was also a noted musical dramatist. Here, in the first book devoted to the subject, his operas are explored in depth: from his two most famous, Eugene Oneginand The Queen of Spades, to such lesser-known works as The Maid of Orléans. The social and psychological complexity of these operas, not to mention their musical brilliance, confirm Tchaikovsky's reputation as his country's greatest opera composer. He displayed great versatility in the range of genres in which he worked, from the tragic to the fantastical, the allegorical to the comic, and he employed a rich variety of musical styles, creating operas that are still performed widely today.
In this thorough and engaging examination, author Henry Zajaczkowski both assesses and re-appraises these works. He provides an overview of Tchaikovsky's opera career, complete with synopses, musical and dramatic analysis, and historical context that places the composer in the pantheon of great masters of the form.