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Berlioz: La damnation de Faust 

French composer Hector Berlioz puts a unique spin on the familiar tale of Faust, the scholar/scientist who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for love and knowledge. The story is told in 8 episodic scenes, in Cirque Du Soleil style.
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Marcello Giordani ...
Faust
Susan Graham ...
Marguerite / Host
John Relyea ...
Méphistophélès
Patrick Carfizzi ...
Brander
James Levine ...
Himself - Conductor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Metropolitan Opera Ballet ...
Dancers
Thomas Hampson ...
Himself - Guest Interviewer
...
Himself - Production by
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
Chorus
Renato Palumbo ...
Himself - Chorus Master
...
Solider
...
Student
...
Student
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Storyline

French composer Hector Berlioz puts a unique spin on the familiar tale of Faust, the scholar/scientist who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for love and knowledge. The story is told in 8 episodic scenes, in Cirque Du Soleil style.

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classical | See All (1) »

Genres:

Musical

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Release Date:

22 November 2008 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting
23 February 2012 | by See all my reviews

This production is not for me one of the best of the Met HD broadcasts, but it is hardly one of the worst either. If anything, it is very interesting, if not perfect. The HD as always is fantastic, but while I loved the creative and cinematic look of the camera work and the elaborate video projection, I could have done with less of the close-ups. The picture and sound also briefly stops at the start of part IV, or so it did watching the simulcast, and while the sound quality is mostly good, it is not quite good enough to ignore the audience noise.

On a more positive note, I did love the daring and beautifully danced choreography. Occasionally, for a piece that I often see or hear performed unstaged, some of the acrobatics and stuff can feel like overkill, but I loved the professionalism of it all and found it overall exciting. The staging was likewise impressive, with the Hungarian March and Amen Fugue standing out. Visually it also works, a beautiful-looking production as such it's not, nor did it necessarily need to be. The sets are reminiscent of those of Doctor Atomic, which I loved, vertical and grid-like, which worked. The costumes especially Mephistopheles' are very good.

Musically, it can't be faulted. The orchestra play of a high standard as they consistently do, and James Levine's conducting is efficient and you can tell he loves what he does. I also find here he is quite enigmatic in the pit, and thankfully with less of his entertaining habits showing(ie. singing along like in the Met Gala Concerts of the early 80s he conducted). The music is beautiful, D'Amour L'Ardente Flamme stands out and Autrefois Un Roi De Thule is one of Berlioz's loveliest.

Nothing to complain about the singing either. Marcello Giordani is a great Faust, giving one of his better performances of the Met HD series with only his Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut better in my view. His acting is never too stolid and while lacking the warmth heard with his Des Griuex and Pinkerton the voice still rings. Susan Graham is a fine artist and is sublime as Margerite especially in Autrefois Un Roi De Thule. John Relyea is a joy to watch, he certainly looks the part of the imposing demon especially the eyebrows, the acting is menacing and sarcastic and the singing is vigorous and resonant, much more so than his firm but occasionally gravelly vocal production in I Puritani.

Overall, an interesting production, one I am glad I watched but not quite good enough to be one of my favourites. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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