|Gounod's 'Faust' starts at
10 am Saturday
The 2011-12 season of the Met Opera Live in HD continues with the Met's new production of Charles Gounod's "Faust," at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Newport Performing Arts Center, 777 W. Olive Street in Newport.
With Jonas Kaufmann (pictured) in the title role, René Pape as the devil, and Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite, Gounod’s classic retelling of the Faust legend couldn’t be better served. Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff updates the story to the first half of the 20th century with a production that won praise in London last season. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts on the heels of his Don Carlo success. Run time is approximately four hours and twenty minutes, with two intermissions.
Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA), OCCA members, season benefactors and individual opera hosts are proud to present this season. "Faust" is hosted by Robert Hermanson (see next column for more about him). Contact Catherine Rickbone to find out more about hosting an opera.
If you want more of the story, click here to visit the OCCA website and read a synopsis of "Faust" issued by the Met.
Tickets and information
Ticket prices are $20 for reserved general admission seating, $17 for seniors, and $10 for students. Casting for the performances is subject to change without notice; for the most current information, call the Newport Performing Arts Center box office at 888-701-7123 or 541-265-2787, or visit the Coast Arts website.
Next up: 'The Enchanted Island' at 10am Feb. 4
Inspired by the musical pastiches and masques of the 18th century, the Met presents an original Baroque fantasy, featuring a who’s who of Baroque stars led by eminent conductor William Christie. With music by Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others, the new libretto by Jeremy Sams combines elements of The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This encore performance, showing at the PAC at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, is hosted by Paul and Evelyn Brookhyser. Run time is approximately three and a half hours, with one intermission.
|About your host
“Gounod’s Faust, based on Goethe’s epic play/poem of the aging philosopher who sells his soul to the devil, was one of opera’s reigning favorites for many decades following its 1859 Paris premiere. It opened the original Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1883, and for many years remained the company’s most performed opera.”
A quote from Playbill introduces us to the endlessly fascinating story of Faust and his engagement with the devil by exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. What is exciting about today’s performance is that the director Des McAnuff offers Faust in an entirely new historical setting: what he calls the “Faust of today.” Thus, in choosing the first half of the 20th century he begins curiously, with the end of the WW II and the detonation of the atomic bomb. Following flashbacks to Faust’s youth, he then returns us to the beginning of WWI. The drama, then, is a journey, taking place both in a single instant and over time.
Unlike the traditional presentations of the opera, this production takes us into a contemporary setting suggesting that we the audience might be able to identify with the fabled Faust as a contemporary being. As McAnuff states, “Faust has really learned everything. He’s acquired ultimate knowledge, which I think applies in a horrifying way to the nuclear bomb and our ability to destroy ourselves. And so I’m interested in the personal responsibility that goes into that, and I think that's the Faustian journey right here.”
The opera then, is a fascinating transformation of an age old legend of someone willing to acquire knowledge, who in the end exchanges that so-called knowledge for the abyss. As McAnuff observes: “I love this entire score. I think this is truly one of the great masterpieces of the middle part of the 19th century. … and I hope we’ll reach audiences at the Met, not just with the extraordinary score, but with what I think is one of the great stories of all time.”
This is a fascinating tale and one that I hope you enjoy today as the Met produces yet another delightful interpretation of one of the great operas.
– Robert Hermanson