The New Yorker, December 12 (?), 2011
Gounod: Faust, Metropolitan Opera New York, ab 29. November 2011
Gounod’s “Faust” inaugurated the old Metropolitan Opera House in 1883, but recent attempts in the new auditorium have been wanting. Des McAnuff’s production is not much better than Andrei Serban’s, from 2005, but at least it’s easier to ignore: the unit set is made mostly of white metal scaffolding. (The production’s theme has something to do with atom bombs; the herky-jerky choreography is risible.) The main musical problem lies with the usually commanding Jonas Kaufmann, in the title role: he gets the high notes, but, with his vague French and square phrasing, he has little feeling for the style. The bright spots are provided by René Pape, whose Méphistophélès is so winning that he could persuade an entire audience to sell their souls, and Marina Poplavskaya, who, as the pathetic Marguerite, once again triumphs over a faulty vocal technique to produce a sympathetic, three-dimensional character. The orchestra, under the sure leadership of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, offers rich textures and insistent thrust. (Dec. 10 at 1 and Dec. 13 at 7:30.)


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