Many opera composers have been “possessed” by the Devil over the last 250 years, including Boito, Schnittke, Schubert,
Weber, Busoni and Stravinsky. But perhaps the most famous operatic adaptation is Gounod’s French grand opera, which is
based on the first part of Goethe’s Faust, a work of literature that absolutely occupies the top tier of world literature. For more
than a century, the piece has been an indispensable element of any self-respecting opera company’s repertoire, and to this
day remains among the most frequently performed operas.
Gounod’s aim was not an operatic adaptation of Goethe’s masterpiece. His grand opera is much more intent on summoning
up the composer’s world: Walpurgis Night, the Golden Calf Song and the Jewel Aria all conjure forth the steamy and
dissipated Paris of his time. Born from the libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré was a perfumed and smoky drama spiced
with elements of romance and horror, as well as gothic motifs: a story of romance, the supernatural, religion, and the eternal
battle against satanic powers.
Our 2015 production also opens the May anniversary festival of our Faust season: Michael Znaniecki, the renowned Polish
opera director, will be working in Hungary for the first time.