Friday, 20 May 2011

The Damnation of Faust

Well when not involved in politics or the day to day business of earning a living one of my real passions is opera and I particularly like Berlioz's 'Damnation of Faust' with its really rich and dark music. Terry Gilliam's current production at the English National Opera, which I am going to see tonight, has received really good reviews. Gilliam, of course, is a film director and the idea of merging cinematic images and opera is not a new one but he has really brought this to a new level with Faust.

Gilliam has also brought the metaphor of Germany and its people having entered a faustian pact to this production and uses the images of German romanticism to start Faust's journey from jaded contemplation to self destruction. This includes images of the First World War, the Weimar Republic, the rise of Nazism and finally the Gotterdammerung of 1945 which mirrors Faust's own damnation. It really is a very political and imaginative reinterpretation of Goethe's tale and Berlioz's wonderful music. I look forward to hearing it and Berlioz is one of my favourite composers.

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