Gounod’s Faust in Estonia


Opera by Charles Gounod

Premiere on September 20, 2012
Libretto by Jules Barbier’ and Michel Carré after Carré’s paly “Faust and Marguerite” and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s tragedy “Faust”
World premiere on March 19, 1859 (Théātre Lyrique)
Opera in two acts, approx. running time 2 h 55 min
Performed in French, subtitles in Estonian and English
On Feb 12, 14 & 26 2015 Mephistopheles sung by Priit Volmer (Bonn Opera), Marguerite sung by Marie Fajtová (Czech Republic).
T, 12 February 2015 / 19:00
S, 14 February 2015 / 19:00
T, 26 February 2015 / 19:00Faust_1

Staging team
Conductors: Vello Pähn, Jüri Alperten, Risto Joost
Stage Director: Dmitri Bertman (Helikon-Opera, Moscow)
Designer: Ene-Liis Semper (NO 99)
Choreographer: Edvald SmirnovFaust_2

The classic story of the Faust legend is brought to life by Dmitri Bertman’s and Ene-Liis Semper’s fantastic vision in one of the most famous operas of all times. In 2007 the same team brought to stage Erkki-Sven Tüür’s award-winning opera “Wallenberg”. In Gounod’s opera Faust sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles in exchange for youth, and is tempted by the innocent but fateful beauty of Marguerite. But there are no winners, when making a pact with the devil – within a moment Faust humiliates the man who adores Marguerite, kills her brother and drives her into madness. Gounod’s music is enticing throughout with memorable hits, such as Marguerite’s “Jewel Song” of the 3rd act and soldiers’ chorus of the 2nd act.faust_3

Barbier and Carré based their libretto on the first part of Goethe’s play, later adding scenes from the 2nd act. By the death of Gounod in 1893, “Faust” had been performed in Paris over a thousand times. The opera was so popular in the US that for decades in the 19th century, the New York opera season was opened with “Faust”.faust_4
New Estonian Ballet Capturing and Beautiful

25.09.2012 / Rahvusooper Estonia

It is a dramatic, sometimes violent performance, deeply tragical and very beautiful. Modigliani’s paintings play an important role and evocative lighting and use of smoke and mists heightens the sense of a dream world – though the sets and many of the scenes are very realistic.faust5

Faust Butchered by Bertman – but Survives

25.09.2012 / Rahvusooper Estonia

Musically the level is very high. The premiere was conducted by Vello Pähn, who from 1 August is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor after Arvo Volmer. I have nothing but praise for his reading of this score, often criticised as being too sugary. Pähn managed to inject a dose of insulin to keep the sugar-balance on a healthy level.Faust_kloun

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