Certainly, Faust is one of history’s greatest operas – the quintessential "deal with the devil" that’s resonated with audiences since its premiere in 1859.
This version, however, is different.
Tony-nominated and Lincoln Center Theatre's resident director Lileana Blain-Cruz first staged this production at Opera Omaha, which features Gounod’s original music & libretto for the Théâtre Lyrique.
That means it features music that has almost never been heard in over 150 years! Whether you’re a new opera attendee or a veteran, you’ll be approaching this masterpiece anew.
Blain-Cruz explains how the return to the original material allows her to delve deeper into the characters:
"In [Gounod’s] memoirs he describes how the fusion of theatrical elements could create ‘an expression of what goes on in the human soul, individual or collective.’ The desire to flesh out these characters is what also makes me so thrilled that we are doing the first version of this opera… that add[s] to the complexity of the characters and their relationships. Gounod, in this opera of numbers, created a clear dramatic story with people who experience journeys of passion to the point of transcendence."
In particular, Blain-Cruz takes a fresh look at Marguerite (who will be performed by celebrated soprano Talise Trevigne), giving more nuance to this young woman, caught in the middle of Faust’s deal with the devil, an unwilling participant in patriarchal desire.
Gounod’s story, told through Blain-Cruz’s contemporary lens, asks us to find empathy for others in tangled, overwhelming circumstances.
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