Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Faust from London

Conductor: Dan Ettinger
Director: David McVicar

Faust Michael Fabiano
Méphistophélès Erwin Schrott
Marguerite Irina Lungu
Valentin Stéphane Degout
Siébel Marta Fontanals-Simmons

Gounod's Faust came to a theater near me from the Royal Opera in London where it was live on April 30.  Faust is a kind of morality myth of no specific era, so it cannot be considered regie that it is staged for the period of it's original appearance in 1859.  The settings bring the story to life.  I always remember that the Germans call this opera Marguerite.  For at least its first 50 years this opera was wildly popular, but musical tastes have moved on, and it's heard now as a bit corny, I think.

Erwin Schrott played Méphistophélès for laughs, something he's very good at.  I loved Michael's voice in his aria "Salut, demeure chaste et pure."   I enjoy his style as a romantic hero very much. Irina Lungu was a replacement for Diana Damrau who I understand has a slipped disc.  I liked her.

This is as close to a traditional production as you are likely to see these days.


This is the second opera where I've seen Erwin in a dress.  The other one was Verdi, I think.  This role better suits the voice of Rene Pape, but Erwin is much funnier and cuter.  The Walpurgis Nacht is done as a ballet with a dancer appearing as pregnant Marguerite.  Valentin comes back from the dead, followed by an orgy.  Marguerite appears with her baby.  Then a small casket.  Then a jail.

The ending is perfection.  Marguerite rejects both Faust and the Devil, prays to God, and an angel appears to declare her saved.  Faust is again an old man.  The Devil laughs.

It worked for me much better than the Met version.

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