I just saw Faust in İstanbul Sureyya Opera Hause on Wednesday and I must say it was the most beautiful staging I saw in İstanbul. Since the visual effects are very hard to explain, and I will not do a description here, I hope I can clearly state my comments. Before I begin just a basic information about the opera. Faust is about a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for his youth. However, one thing let to another and Faust finally destroys Marguerite’s life. The opera is based on only the first part of Goethe’s Faust.
First of all, I must say that the staging was wonderful. Especially the love duet between Marguerite and Faust; the snow was reflected by visual effect on the Marguerite’s home, it was very romantic. Custom designs were good except the devil. Devil looked too funny rather than scary. Tenor was no good. The choir wasn’t synchronised due to maybe not being sure of French libretto, just guessing, I listen with great excitement thinking that whether they would manage to finish it together. The soprano was good except that the high notes, despite the right tonality, was sound like a scream. It has a very disturbing volume for the ears, and they always sang in the same position. I really like the Marguerite dressing as a child. Her hair was like a Smurfette, and has a childish pink dress. I like that because Marguerite has a childish character in the play. Innocent but very easily influenced by jewellery and the attention of Faust.
Staging was modern in that production and the staging director explains it as he is provoked by the devil ( if it is the right translation). There are war vs. peace, botox, technology, fitness references. Since they replaced fittingly, I liked it. Marguerite was so happy when she found the jewelry, she think she looked pretty with them, she takes a selfie with her iPad :) Ballet parts were also staged as modern dances. There are references to valses and swans (swan lake), but it was perfect. It is very important to find the balance between them. The story has a huge story and it a classical piece ( Goethe’s Faust), however subject is really suitable for modernisation and I congratulate Recep Ayyılmaz for that.
In the opera, I heard people saying why the role Siebel is played by a woman but dressed as a man. Siebel is a pants role that means the male character plays by a woman. It is not the director’s choice. The reason behind it is that in the early stages of the opera, the young men roles played by women since women’s voice is more similar to boy than a men. Also, there is another possibility that the role is written for a castrati, a boy is castrated when young to keep his voice unchanged for singing female roles.
Below I share some arias from the opera, hope you will enjoy it. The opera will be staged again on March. You can buy tickets from www.dogbm.gov.tr
Arias from Faust
Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir (Marguerite)
Avant de quitter ces lieux (Valentin)
Il était un roi de Thule (Marguerite)
Salut! Demeure chaste et pure (Faust)
O nuit! étends sur eux ton ombre (Méphistophélès)
Vous qui faites l’endormie (Méphistophélès)
Anges purs Anges radieux (Marguerite)