I have given a 5 star review to this blu ray although 4.5 was a possibility at some points, however the final scene edged it to the 5. First things first. This is a fairly traditional production which received its premiere at the Liceu in 2010. The production itself is colourful and effective although it does sometimes plod along to no great purpose. The stage is sometimes overpopulated and there can be a stand and deliver attitude which makes for some dull moments. An irritating black screen moves to and fro across the stage and this must have annoyed the audience no end! So, why the 5 stars? Well it is very very well sung and in Misha Didyk the young Ukrainian tenor, an ideal Hermann can be found. A wonderful virile voice accompanies a handsome stage presence and his thoughtful characterisation of the tormented Hermann is marvellouly well portrayed. The men dominate the vocal stakes here with a splendid Yeletsky from Ludovic Tezier, Lado Ataneli a fine Tomsky and the smaller roles strongly cast. The men of the Liceu chorus contribute much to the success of the final scene. The ladies are more problematic. Emily Magee sings well as Lisa but her scting is rudimentary and her suicide in the Neva goes for nothing. Ewa Podles, a huge favourite in Barcelona, essays the role of the elderly Countess, but the clarity of blu ray makes her make up and demeanor more grotesque than is comfortable on the eye. She does of course sing it all very well and this is not often the case in this opera. Elena Zaremba makes an effective Pauline and some of the lesser roles are very well cast; Stefania Toczyska is excellent in the small role of the Governess. The orchestra plays well under Michael Boder and I derived a great deal of pleasure from this performance.The final scene in the gambling house has got to succeed brilliantly if the opera is to work its magic and here it emphatically does, so much so that the little quirks that may irritate before fade into insignificance and the 5 stars remain.