French composer Charles Gounod’s most popular opera returns in David McVicar’s stunning Parisian production of Faust. Performed at the Royal Opera House, a screening will be held at the Pantheon cinema on Wednesday.
The 1859 tale was one of the world’s most popular operas from the 1860s to World War II, and remains a core repertory work today. The story, adapted by Gounod’s librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré’s playFaust et Marguerite, is based on Part I of Goethe’s epic poem Faust, which was a major inspiration for many composers during the 19th century and beyond. Gounod added a ballet to Act V when Faust was first staged at the Paris Opéra in 1869.
David McVicar’s wonderfully theatrical production draws insightful parallels between Faust and Gounod, a composer torn between piety and worldly and romantic success. Sets and costumes by Charles Edwards and Brigitte Reiffenstuel pay tribute to the art and architecture of 1870s Paris, and include a colourful Cabaret d’Enfer, a run-down tenement block and re-creations of a box from the Paris Opéra and the organ loft of Notre-Dame.
Disillusioned with life, aged philosopher Faust calls upon Satan to help him. The devil Méphistophélès appears and strikes a bargain with the philosopher: he will give him youth and the love of the beautiful Marguerite if Faust will hand over his soul. Faust agrees, and Méphistophélès arranges matters so that Marguerite loses interest in her suitor Siébel and becomes infatuated with Faust.
Screening of a Royal Opera performance of Faust. May 22. Pantheon Cinema, Nicosia. 8pm. €10. Tel: 22-675787