I have been writing this opera with unbelievable passion and enthusiasm, I have vividly experienced all the sufferings and emotions of the story... and I hope that all my raptures, excitements and enthusiasms will find a response in the hearts of responsive listeners. This is quintessential Tchaikovsky: highly emotional, pouring out his soul into his music as well as his writing, extreme in his empathy whether it is rapture or terror, sincere and genuine. In 1888, his brother Modest had prepared a libretto based on Pushkin s Pique Dame for another composer. At this stage, Tchaikovsky wrote: I have no regrets at all that I am not going to write Pique Dame. He had a change of heart after realizing that he actually liked his brother s libretto very much and from that moment on took an active part in shaping and refining it in the process of composing the opera. As soon as he was given a tight deadline, Tchaikovsky fully committed to it. Forty days later, he finished sketching. This recording was made live in 2012, and was conducted by one of the biggest name conductors of our day, Vladimir Jurovski.