“Faust” is is a swirling tornado of an opera, containing a world of contrasts both musically and dramatically with the bewitching magic of the dark side casting its devilish hand across the opera house stage. Here Heaven and Hell collide and like many magnificent operas, there is no middle zone; there only exists a world of extremes. Religion and the conflict between good and evil is the skeleton of Charles Gounod’s epic opera.
As Faust (Oliver Kuusik) is jaded and tired with living, he sells his soul to the Devil (Pavlo Balakin) which leads to soaring highs followed by the eventual crashing and splintering low. Pleasure must be paid for with the ultimate price. But the future seems so distant for Faust when he conjures up Mephistopheles that the fall into eternal damnation is further away than the moon. Mephistopheles’ world seems such an enchanting place with all you could desire, forgetting tomorrow and dancing on tabletops and to hell with the consequences and doesn’t it feel good? Yet with monstrous greed and no remorse, tomorrow will bring sorrow and tragedy.
The destructive waves generated by Mephistopheles and his puppet, Faust, sweep away everyone in their path, especially the delicate Marguerite, performed by Aile Asszonyi, a fragile and innocent victim of the dark world.
And like a magnificent epic opera it contains an orchestral score to send shivers down the spine. The music is both sinister and exotic, led by conductor Juri Alperten. The intensity of Gounod’s romantic musical score which is so rich with duets, trios, and quartets, sweeps through the auditorium with unrestrained ferocity. The notes are almost tangible; they could be plucked from the ceiling like enchanting but twisted stars.
With set designs by Ene-Liis Semper and choreography by Edvald Smirnov, this is a production which crackles with raw energy and devilish magic as Faust is drawn into Mephistopheles’ enticing yet evil world of lust, power, and darkness ending in tragedy and despair.
How fitting that one of the performances is on Friday the 13th. Best wear that crucifix and embrace the night air if you dare.
‘FAUST’ ESTONIAN NATIONAL OPERA
Estonia Avenue 4, 10148 Tallinn
Performances: May 5 and May 13
(Also returning in September season)
Tickets and information: www.opera.ee/en/lavastus/faust