Faust Phenomenal

August 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

Winterbourne Opera’s awesome 2015 production of Gounod’s ‘Faust’ has just finished. My only regret is that I attended the opera on the last night and could not share this with you in time for you to see it. This is the 5th Winterbourne Opera production I have attended and once more my expectations were surpassed.

The use of The Chapel Nightclub in the middle of Salisbury was an inspired choice. For one, the seats were a lot more comfortable than some previous venues. The former Victorian chapel lent itself very well to the staging and the stark scenery – especially the magic fountain – focused the eye on the action towered over by the redundant organ and gothic architecture.

The raison d’etre of Winterbourne Opera is that the local choral group under the current presidency of Hilary Sharland invite upcoming opera students to audition, giving the successful candidates the chance to sing lead roles and be accommodated locally for three weeks for rehearsal and during the week of performance. What a fabulous opportunity for these young people in the summer – most do go on to great things in the operatic world no doubt enhanced by the addition of this accomplishment on their CV’s. The musicians too are of extremely high calibre under the energetic direction of Calum Fraser and to my mind the whole production is one of exceptionally fine quality worthy of Glyndebourne or Covent Garden.

Perhaps I am waxing lyrical because I am still under the spell of marvellously malevolent Mephistopholes; Colin Brockie who absolutely mesmerised the audience from his first entrance to the end of the performance. With menacing eye make up which enhanced his alternatively wicked and sometimes twinkling glint, along with the hand gestures which directed the movements of the cast, we could only watch in fascination the ghastly unfolding of the familiar tale of the man who sold his soul to the devil.

The soloists as we have come to expect of Winterbourne were strong (especially Ian Beadle, Mark Nathan and the angel) and Jess Broad’s Marguerite brought tremendous emotion to her final scene – I was weeping with her.

I’m so sorry if you missed it – this production of ‘Faust’ definitely deserves to be performed to a national audience. Well done Ben Occhipinti and Winterbourne Opera! What could follow?


Entry filed under: culture, opera. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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