Culture Magazine

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Faust

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
The Met continues further testing on its "atomic" Faust.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Faust

Atomic babe: Marina Poplavskaya in Faust.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.


Dez McAnuff's 2010 production of Gounod's Faust re-imagined Gounod's opera about a scholar who sells his soul to the devil as a metaphor for the creation and testing of the atomic bomb in the mid-20th century. While the spare staging featured an elegant Faust and Mephistopheles trading in lab coats for spiffy suits, audience and critical fallout was decidedly mixed.
Basically, Mr. McAnuff's concept reimagines Faust as some sort of parallel to the life of Robert Oppenheimer. The opera's plot becomes the old man's reflections on two world wars and the nuclear dawn of the 1940s. It's long on spectacle, heavy on pretense, and has some inexplicable ideas, including two giant puppets that look more suited to an Iron Maiden tour than French opera.
Marina Poplavskaya returns as Marguerite. Piotr Beczala takes over as Faust. Mephistopheles is John Relyea, who returns to the Met stage after being forced to cancel engagements in 2011. Opera lovers may remember him as a different devil--he sang the role of Méphistophélès in the company's production of Berlioz' La Damnation de Faust.
Faust returns March 21, 2013.
Recording Recommendations:
Faust was the most popular opera in the world at the start of the 20th century, and has been recorded frequently. The rash of (crappy) all-star Faust recordings (featuring big names like Sutherland, Domingo, Te Kanawa, etc.) that appeared in the '70s, '80s and '90s can be safely dismissed, in favor of....
Orchestre Et Choeur Du Théatre National De l'Opéra De Paris cond. Andre Cluytens (EMI, 1959)
Faust: Nicolai Gedda
Méphistophélès: Boris Christoff
Marguerite: Victoria de los Angeles
This is a stereo remake of a mono recording from five years before with the same cast. It remains the best recording of the opera available. Nicolai Gedda is brilliant as Faust. The Swedish tenor sounds at home in French repertory. De Los Angeles (a famous Carmen) is a velvety Marguerite. The Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff tends to snarl and bark through the role of Old Scratch, but he makes up for it with a spectacularly sinister presence. At an attractive mid-price, this is only Faust to own. Yes. I sound like the Penguin Guide. But it's really good.
Return to the Superconductor 2012-2013 Metropolitan Opera Season Preview.

Contact the author: E-mail Superconductor editor Paul Pelkonen.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Kayleigh

    Five Things Loved About Wedding Kayleigh

    This is the fourth in a series of blog posts with a focus on those little things that make a wedding special. It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding. Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Wedincentralpark
    LIFESTYLE, WEDDING
  • Democracy and the Politics of Intolerance

    Democracy Politics Intolerance

    A democracy allows government to reflect the will of the people. Or does it? Here I would like to understand a bit better the dynamics through which radical... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Dlittle30
    SOCIETY
  • Cable Girls – 1920s Era Women with a Modern Twist

    Cable Girls 1920s Women with Modern Twist

    Las Chicas del Cable – four women in 1920s Madrid – Cloche hats, colorful flapper frocks and bobbed hair. What’s not to enjoy about the new Netflix produced... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Glamourdaze
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • BADASS Art Journal Page - All of Me....

    BADASS Journal Page Me....

    Embracing all parts of me and surrounded by miracles - Art Journal PageI found a couple of passports photos of myself recently and I was criticizing them becaus... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Realityarts
    CREATIVITY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Dutch Apple Loaf

    Dutch Apple Loaf

    This Dutch Apple Loaf is my kind of cake, soft and moist,  and filled with juicy chunks of apple and pecan nuts.  For a lovely hint of sweetness I have... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Shadesofcinnamon
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • A Jumbo Passion Project

    The climber, facing away from the wall, gingerly peers over his toes to watch his sky-blue T-shirt flutter to the ground. He takes a deep breath, then turns in... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Thervproject
    OUTDOORS
  • Top 3 Dim Sum Restaurants in Chinatown

    Restaurants Chinatown

    Chicago’s Chinatown is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Sundays can be especially crowded in this area, usually around brunch, as dim sum, a... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
    TRAVEL

Paperblog Hot Topics