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Gounod: Faust / Gheorghiu, Alagna, Terfel, Pappano [2 DVD]

Album Summary

>Gounod, Charles : Faust
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Angela Gheorghiu stars as Marguerite alongside a divine cast of operatic superstars, including Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside and Sophie Koch, in David McVicar's spectacular 2004 production of Gounod's best known opera, 'Faust', for the Royal Opera House in London. This production was the Royal Opera Company's first performance of Gounod's 'Faust' in 18 years. Gounod's 'Faust' is the story of a scholar who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly indulgences. McVicar's innovative production sets this story around the time of the Franco-Prussian War (1870) in the gothic, seamy underbelly of Paris. He characterizes Faust, performed by Roberto Alagna, as a man both torn between the theater and religion, and grappling with his own sexuality.

"This is opera at its grandest and best." - The Wall Street Journal

"The performances are excellent. Terfel sings with panache and Gheorghiu, unlike most Marguerites, is capable of encompassing both the lyricism of the love scenes and the horror of her subsequent descent into insanity. The real revelation, however, is Alagna, who gives the performance of a lifetime, physically daring - he celebrates Faust's new-found youth by cartwheeling round the stage - and vocally and dramatically responsive to every psychological shift... Funny, erotic and disturbing by turns, Faust makes for a compelling evening." - The Guardian

"David McVicar's spectacular reinvention of this 19th-century warhorse...Among the most stylish performances was that of Simon Keenlyside as Valentin...Bryn Terfel... gave Mephistopheles a believable domineering menace without compromising the splendour of the voice. Sophie Koch made a fetching moment of Siebel's exquisite number... Alagna... achieving a kind of elegance as well as energy; Gheorghiu eloquent and fluent from the start, the 'Jewel Song' supple and eager rather than flashy." - The Independent

"The Royal Opera scores another bull's-eye with David McVicar's gorgeous and intelligent staging of a Victorian warhorse." -The Daily Telegraph

"[Terfel's] is a performance that won't be forgotten by those privileged to see it. His mere stage presence is electrifying...Mr. Terfel is capable of modulating from a sung sigh to the crack of thunder, with no loss of control or beauty." - The Wall Street Journal

Penguin Guide, 2011 edition
Surely one of the finest achievements of DVD so far...Alagna dominates vocally in the name-role with a powerful heady lyricism...Gheorghiu sings gloriously as a delightful Marguerite, but the action is underlined by the splendidly bold panache of Bryn Terfel's Mephistopheles.

BBC Music Magazine, January 2011
"Alagna depicts Faust's transition from Gounod-like ancient to cartwheeling young boulevardier and drug-addled Baudelairean decadent with energy and elegant phrasing...[Terfel] suggests the constant predatory menace beneath the musketeer panache with a curious dignity...[Pappano's] theatrical vigour banishes any trace of Gallic langour, a thoroughly un-fustian Faust.


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Works Details

>Gounod, Charles : Faust
  • Performers: Roberto Alagna (Tenor); Roberto Alagna (Tenor); Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano); Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano); Simon Keenlyside (Baritone); Simon Keenlyside (Baritone); Sophie Koch (Mezzo Soprano); Sophie Koch (Mezzo Soprano); Bryn Terfel (Bass); Bryn Terfel (Bass)
  • Conductor: Anthony Pappano
  • Ensemble: Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1856-1859