McVicar sets this grand scale production in the composer’s own lifetime; among the decadence and debauchery of 1870s Paris. Between towering cathedral columns and the crumbling proscenium arch of the theatre, Faust’s terrible pact plays out in all of its sinister splendour.
Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu will make his Melbourne debut singing the title role. A protégé of Luciano Pavarotti, the Grammy nominated singer is a regular performer at major opera houses around the globe and has been praised by critics worldwide for his rich tone and passionate expression.
Performing alongside Pirgu is audience favourite Teddy Tahu Rhodes, who will bring his devilish theatrics to the stage as Faust’s Satanic companion, Méphistophélès. Known for his powerful voice and commanding stage presence, Rhodes will bring these talents to the stage for his performance as the charming and manipulative devil.
The impossibly young Kazakh soprano, Maria Mudryak, will make her Australian and role debut as Marguerite. With a career going from strength to strength, this will be Mudryak’s twelfth role debut in six years. Anna Dowsley is set for another stellar performance in a pants role as Siébel with her fellow OA principals Luke Gabbedy, Dominica Matthews and Shane Lowrencev also taking to the stage.
French conductor Guillaume Touriaire will lead the principals alongside the Opera Australia Chorus and Orchestra Victoria, performing Gounod’s bold and demanding score in all its glory including the famous Soldier’s Chorus, the rousing Le veau d’or and Marguerite’s beautiful Jewel Song.
Set designer Charles Edwards’ glorious designs bring McVicar’s vision of Paris to life and include the reconstruction of the Cabaret L’Enfer, a hell-themed nightclub in Montmartre in the late 19th century, and the Church of Saint-Séverin on Paris’ Left Bank.
Brigitte Reiffenstuel’s lavish costumes are truly spectacular. The images are at once delightful and disturbing, a reminder that given the chance, any one of us might stumble down Faust’s road.
The opera is a wild ride through the streets of the French capital, with its tale of romance, temptation and the age-old battle between satanic powers and religion. Faust is grand opera in all its components – gripping plot, stunning production design and glorious music.
Conductor: Guillaume Tourniaire Director & Choreographer: Sir David McVicar Featuring: Saimir Pirgu, Maria Mudryak, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Luke Gabbedy, Anna Dowsley, Dominica Matthews, Shane Lorencev, Opera Australia Chorus, Orchestra Victoria Revival Director: Bruno Ravella Set Designer: Charles Edwards Costume Designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel Lighting Designer: Paule Constable Lighting realisation: David Harvey Choreographer: Michael Keegan-Dolan Revival Choreographer & Assistant Director: Shane Placentino Fight Director: Nigel Poulton
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 27 November – 7 December 2019
For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Faust – photo by Georges Antoni