FEDORA

Opera Prize
Shortlist 2020

218

06 / 10

Faust

Belgium
Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

Faust

Presentation

Conductor Philippe Herreweghe considers Szenen aus Goethes Faust nothing short of a masterpiece. According to him, Schumann’s theatrical writing cries out for a visual staging. Who better to entrust this to than Julian Rosefeldt, director of opulent films and installations such as Manifesto (2015) with Cate Blanchett? In collaboration with choreographer Femke Gyselinck, Rosefeldt brings Schumann’s Faust to the here and now. The counterpoint between video, dance and stage action emanates the Faustian condition in all its richness; from tragic love to relentless progress and an ultimate tranfiguration with cosmic dimensions. 

Szenen aus Goethes Faust is one of the best-kept secrets of romantic music drama. With his magnum opus, Robert Schumann pays homage to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Both artists turned Faust and his pact with the devil into a life’s work that is utterly unique and timelessly universal.

Faust is a disillusioned scholar, in fruitless search of fundamental truth. In exchange for his soul, Mephistopheles takes him on a series of adventures. Salvation beckons in the end, but the road towards it is an existential rollercoaster of striving, falling and picking oneself up again. Faust is all of us.

Schumann captures the essence of the drama in seven iconic scenes that resolutely nestle themselves under the skin. His score defies all labels: just like Faust, the listener is invited to wander through a rich and varied landscape. Opera crosses paths with oratorio; an orchestral song brushes past polyphonic church music; a children’s choir warbles in the distance. Still, fragment and whole never lose sight of one another.

Artistic Team

Philippe Herreweghe

Philippe Herreweghe

Conductor

Julian Rosefeldt

Julian Rosefeldt

Artistic Director

Femke Gyselinck

Femke Gyselinck

Choreographer

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