Gounod's Faust from the Royal Opera House

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Join us Saturday at 1 pm for Faust, Gounod's lush drama about a man who confronts both the devil incarnate and the hellish consequences of his own weakness. David McVicar's much-traveled production sets the action in the Paris of Gounod’s later years, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870's Paris. 

Some may recall that this is the production that was to have featured superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, who withdrew at the last minute. The Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva proved a more than able replacement as Marguerite, alongside bass-baritone Bryn Terfel as Méphilsophélès, and tenor Joseph Calleja in the title role.

Cast:

Faust: Joseph Calleja (tenor)
Marguerite: Sonya Yoncheva (soprano) 
Méphistophélès: Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone) 
Valentin: Simon Keenlyside (baritone) 
Siébel: Renata Pokupic (mezzo-soprano)
Wagner: Jihoon Kim (baritone) 
Marthe: Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)

Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus 
Maurizio Benini, conductor

Comments [14]

??? @ KBL? "... When I sang Faust it was a dramatic renor ..."
DD~~

Nov. 23 2014 05:17 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

DiStefano was also devilishly handsome. Very sad that he was murdered.

Nov. 23 2014 09:24 AM

He also was a heavy smoker!

Nov. 22 2014 04:23 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

I knew Giuseppe di Stefano both here and in Italy. His mesa di voce on the high C in Faust's SALUT DEMEURE was both perfect and extremely beautiful. I heard him sing that role several times at the MET, all three times at a score desk at the Family Circle on stage left. At Castel Arquato ijn Italy where we both stayed at a hotel between performances, I was amazed how late at night di Stefano would stay up playing cards with other singers. This performance is a solid smash. All the singers and the orchestra are in top form, particularly Callejo . www.WagnerOpera.com

Nov. 22 2014 03:26 PM
George from 40th St

This is a GREAT cast! Why nitpick? Yoncheva is the real thing...a lush voice, with a pleasant quality. As far as Keenleyside, I could hear him in anything. Ditto for Calleja and Terfel. A better FAUST cast would be hard to find today

Nov. 22 2014 03:10 PM

I guess Mr. Lane never heard DiStefano's magnificent 1950 SFO Faust where he made a fantastic diminuendo on a High C down to almost just a thread. Bing heard that B'cast & immediately offered Pippo a Met contract. When you bring me a tenor who has that kind of control, we'll talk a bout the greatest Fausts, otherwise you are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. Caruso & de Reszke had such different voices and vocal production, I don't know how you can compare them.

Nov. 22 2014 02:59 PM
JIm Legnani from New Yorj, NY

Calleja's and Yoncheva's French pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired. I don't know the soprano, but I expected better from the tenor, whom I usually like, mostly in Italian roles, though. The big aria "Salut, demeure chaste et pure", in particular, was a big letdown. And I didn't even know who the tenor was at that point... On the whole, a rather disappointing performane!

Nov. 22 2014 02:42 PM
ravenelvenlady

This is a lovely production. In my opinion, Sonya's the better singer anyway. Lovely as Anna is, she is highly overrated.

Nov. 22 2014 02:19 PM

KBL, this is not a forum for your self-aggrandizement. I could not care less how many times you sang anything. Please leave the rest of us in peace.

Nov. 22 2014 02:15 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richards Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

When the MET OPERA opened in 1883 the aka name given to the MET was the FAUSTSPIELHAUS.
It was given so many times that one would think it was a Broadway musical with a long run. The Royal Opera House's cast for their Faust is good although not great. Joseph Calleja as Faust, Simon Keenlyside as Valentin and Bryn Terfel as Mephistopheles with maestro Maurizio Benini at the helm. When I sang Faust it was a dramatic renor, Callejo is a lirico spinto tenor, the most often fach chosen for the role. Perhaps two of the greatest of Faust interpreters, Caruso and Jean de Reszke were both dramatic tenors. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer; "Shakespeare' and "The Political Shakespeare," and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. My 6 websites carry my 37 out of the over 100 selections of my singing four three-hour-long solo concerts in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, of Carnegie Hall. They may be downloaded FREE at Recorded Selections. www.WagnerOpera.com

Nov. 22 2014 01:19 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Anche a te CBC. I have the Boheme with Jussi and Victoria.
Auguri.
Joseph Calleja has a really beautiful voice.

Nov. 22 2014 01:17 PM

Oh, for the days of Bjorling, Kraus and Gedda !!!

Nov. 22 2014 01:15 PM

CBC che bella parole! bur remember "..ma quando vein los gelo, il primo sole e mio..." and I can hear Licia & Renata and feel all warm inside. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving but make sure you have an Alcindoro around, in case.

Nov. 22 2014 12:21 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Hope you are well. Still damn cold.
This opera is all about the search for eternal youth and beauty.

Nov. 22 2014 06:38 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.