Gounod’s Faust on at Ljubljana opera house

Ljubljana – The opera version of Goethe’s Faust by French composer Charles Gounod will be performed at the SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana tonight in what is the fourth opera premiere at the capital’s opera house this season. Directed by acclaimed Belgian director Frank Van Laecke, the show foregrounds not doctor Faust but Mephistopheles.

The opera house, where the show will be running until 26 March, wrote that centering the piece around Mephistopheles helped put more focus on the devil’s motives, modes of operation, his wish to conquer the pure soul of Marguerite through Faust.

Van Laecke, who has directed five shows at Ljubljana’s SNG to date, told the STA that his wish was to portray how Mephistopheles, capable of manipulating everybody, was unable to manipulate this innocent girl and how he was forced to be patient and wait.

The soloists featured are Aljaž Farasin (Faust), Peter Martinčič (Mephistopheles), Martina Zadro (Marguerite), Jože Vidic (Valentin), Nuška Drašček (Siebel), Mirjam Kalin (Marta) and Rok Bavčar (Wagner).

The orchestra will be conducted for the first time by Belgian-born Ayrton Desimpelaere, who has been active at the Paris IMEP school for jazz and contemporary music since 2017.

Gounod’s Faust, first performed in Paris in 1859, is considered one of the most picturesque romantic pieces in world operatic literature. The archetypal story of the struggle between good and evil, which ends in the apotheosis of love, has been stirring the depths and thus leaving a cathartic impact on the human spirit to this day, SNG wrote.