Fairfield University presents The Met Live in HD with La Damnation de Faust November 22


 

"High-tech circus meets grand opera." - Verena Dobnik, Associated Press

With the Canadian director Robert Lepage's new technologically innovative production of Berlioz's "La Damnation de Faust," the Metropolitan Opera astounded the opening night audience with, as Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times wrote, "video wizardry ... (and) the big news of the production: the magnificent performance James Levine drew from the orchestra and the robust singing of the Met's remarkable chorus, which continues to thrive under its chorus master, Donald Palumbo." On Saturday, Nov. 22, Fairfield University presents the opera live in HD at 1 p.m. with an encore performance on the same day at 7 p.m. at the Quick Center for the Arts.

Berlioz intended his "Faust" to be primarily for the concert stage and constructed it in a series of four scenes, which he called a "legende dramatique." Lepage, whose directorial experience includes Cirque du Soleil, film and operas in Japan, Paris and London, makes his directorial debut at the Met with this production and takes full advantage of his own vivid imagination to pounce on the opera's cinematic-like structure of multiple locations, to introduce, as described by Daniel J. Wakin in his New York Times article, "Techno-Alchemy at the Opera," "... an unprecedented level of technological stagecraft ... (and) the Met's first interactive opera."

The cast includes Marcello Giordani as Faust, Susan Graham as Marguerite and John Relyea as Méphistophélès.

The five-level metal scaffold set contains a constantly changing set of images projected on screens and appropriate to each scene. "As if by magic, the images often respond to the performers' movements and even the pitches of the singers and orchestra. It's a revolutionary technique ... (and) Lepage puts himself at the service of the drama," wrote Eric Myers of Variety.

Graham as Marguerite captivated Myers, "she is riveting onstage, and her rich lyric mezzo finds every expressive nuance without ever sounding forced." He continues, "James Levine conducts Berlioz's sumptuous score, seemingly with a lightning bolt instead of a baton. His is the most incisive, thrilling and precise interpretation of this work conceivable, and the Met orchestra has never sounded better."

"La Damnation de Faust" has an approximate running time of 2 hours, 45 minutes.
Tickets are $22 adults, $20 seniors, $15 children and students and are available online at quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website at http://www.fairfield.edu/quick.

Coming next on Saturday, Dec. 20, is the Met's new production of Massenet's "Thaïs," starring Renée Fleming with an encore performance on Monday, Dec. 22.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 12, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 128