The Coliseum wasn't exactly packed when we arrived last night to see Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades. The work was new all-round for me, though apparently Mrs Q had read the Pushkin story on which it's based - ground-breaking for its time, but now seemingly dealing with stereotypical subjects for both opera in general and nineteenth century Russia of unrequited love, gambling and alcoholism. ENO's production leaned towards the surreal, flitting between Soviet-era military uniforms, cinematic windows, and louche 60s nightclubs - with a complement of furries thrown in for good measure. Musically, it's mostly archetypal Tchaikovsky, with occasional references or thematic similarities to at least the fifth and sixth symphonies, and a homage to Mozart. All the performers were good, though I would single out Felicity Palmer in the title role for particular praise.