Gounod’s Faust is the pinnacle of 19th century French opera, it’s full of rich characterization, it’s dramatically exciting, and it’s exuberantly evocative. Faust, an aged and bitter man, sells his soul to Méphistophélès in return for youth and the love of Marguerite, an innocent young woman. By trying to have it all, he loses everything. Gounod’s sensuous and sublimely melodic masterpiece will be presented in a production not seen before in Vancouver. This all Canadian cast features east-coast native David Pomeroy and local favourite Simone Osborne, last seen in our 2015 production of Rigoletto. Making his Vancouver Opera debut is Toronto native Robert Pomakov, who appears regularly in the world’s greatest opera houses. Jonathan Darlington returns to conduct the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
The performance will last approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes, including 2 intermissions.
Sung in French with English SURTITLES™
Martha Lou Henley, C.M.
Michael and Inna O’Brian
Lighting Designer: Gerald King
Production Stage Manager: Theresa Tsang
In order of vocal appearance
Faust has spent a lifetime in the study of science. Disillusioned with life, he resolves to poison himself. He curses God and calls on the Devil. Méphistophélès obligingly appears and offers Faust riches, power, or glory. Faust, however, only wants to recapture the innocence of youth. Méphistophélès agrees to Faust’s request, but there are conditions: on earth Faust will be master, but in the world below their roles will be reversed. When Faust hesitates, Méphistophélès conjures up a vision of Marguerite. Faust signs the contract and returns to his youth.
MUSIC YOU NEED TO HEAR
For a time, Charles Gounod's (1818–1893) Faust was the most popular opera in the world. Aside from the operatic adaptation of this immortal tragedy, the french composer is best known for the Ave Maria, his homage to J.S. Bach, and an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The story, adapted by Gounod's librettists Jules Barbier (1825 – 1901) and Michel Carré (1821–1872) from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, is based on Part I of Goethe's epic poem Faust, which was a major inspiration for many composers during the 19th century and beyond.
Mythical, elegant, decadent. Charles Gonoud's Faust had its premiere at Boulevard du Temple in Paris, France in 1859. It had its Vancouver Opera premiere in our 1962-1963 Season, and was last produced by VO in our 2005-2006 Season. This is the 6th time Vancouver Opera has mounted a mainstage production of Faust.
Pictured: Richard Cross and John Alexander in an ad for Faust, from our 1962-1963 season. Photo by Barry Glass.