Freni, Gedda and Soyer at the top of their game in a great Faust
Ever since seeing Faust live on television in 2004 I have loved it. My favourite ever Faust is the 1973 Tokyo performance with Scotto, Kraus and Ghiaurov despite the picture quality and subtitles. This Faust is not far off. There are times when the sound is rather muffled such as the final trio, then again it could've been to do with acoustics and where Gedda was standing on stage, and I didn't like the touch with the kid during the final trio as I didn't think it added much. The costumes and sets are quite atmospheric though, the orchestral playing is superb and the conducting proves to be an efficient reading. The chorus are well blended and not too static dramatically, Tom Krause is a good Valentin and Marthe and Siebel are just as fine. The three leads are what Faust is all about though and all three are superb. Mirella Freni is wonderful as Margherite, feminine, angelic in sound, she is understated in the Jewel Song and really brings the roof down in the final trio. Nicolai Gedda proves that his reputation as a musical and intelligent tenor is a justified one, his Faust is sung with ardour, beautiful tone and one of the best high Cs I've ever seen in Salut Demure Et Chaste Pure. Roger Soyer is vocally resonant and is suitably sarcastic and menacing as Mephistopheles. Overall, great. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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