Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dusapin - Faustus The Last Night|
Actors: Georg Nigl, Urban Malmberg, Caroline Stein, Robert Worle, Jaco Huijpen
Director: Peter Mussbach
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Another great find of contempory opera
David L. Myers | 04/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow! A powerhouse from an unknown (to me) composer. The five singers set a standard for future productions of this marvelous work. They deal with a difficult but interesting stage set and provide a clarity of the english libretto seldom realized on disc. The orchestra is up to the demands of the score adding to the total realization of this powerfull work. A short filmed commentary by the composer and conductor are all that is necessary to complete the overpowering experience of this work."
When Godot becomes Togod
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 12/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Officially inspired by Marlowe's Dr Faustus, Dusapin retains the very last night Faustus experiences when he shifts from life to death, from the world to damnation. But Dusapin goes a lot farther than just this last night, this shift from living to damned. Dusapin pretends he did not follow Goethe for whom Faust is saved from damnation in the end. And there I will start to disagree. Dusapin saves his Faustus in a far more subtle way than Goethe, but he does not follow Marlowe for whom Dr Faustus is dismembered on the stage. The whole opera is going to be performed on the slanting face of a giant clock, the minute hand on eight and the hour hand on three. The angel is lying on twelve. Numbers are essential in this opera and Dusapin sets the trend by defining his opera as lasting one night and eleven "numbers". The angel sets, from its divine twelve, one objective to Faustus, to be reborn, from the very start to the very end. Eight is the number of Christ in his glory after his rising from the dead, just as three is six hours before the death of Christ at the ninth hour, that is to say the time when Christ is arrested. The opera is centered on time and no one can escape this visual metaphor. The clock will turn, minute hand and/or hour hand, in the normal way or backwards. And at times the clock face will turn while the hands remain still. Even the clock face turns while the rectangle of light that were set on the hour notches do not turn, thus producing two clock faces one turning and the other still. Or even further, the clock face will turn at the end while the various notches had been taken off and light comes from inside the clock through these open slots, this time the light turning with the clock, reunified with the clock. At one moment the minute hand will go up with Sly sitting on it, elevating him at the same time. And time is ever present in the opera. In fact Faustus discovers little by little that beyond this night, beyond death there is eternity and he reconstructs eternity, that is to say what was before the world was ever created when there was only spatial immensity in total darkness and the first thing God did when he appeared with his spirit was to create time, the very beginning of time, the alpha of time. And when the world comes to a close, that time will be brought to its omega and then eternity will be again, this time eternity in light, "the mystery of light, absolute light, light without end", but both before the alpha of time and after the omega of time there was and will be pure timeless eternity in an immense expanse of empty space and some kind of absolute silence. Music cannot exist in this timeless eternity since music needs a tempo and without time there cannot be any tempo. The opera is founded on a pentad of five characters. Faustus of course, the absolute self-centered egotist. Mephistopheles of course, the deceitful demon that never lies though he never tells the truth. The angel who calls Faustus to rebirth constantly. Sly, the slob who represents life in its excess of enjoyment, in other words the purely human character with no consciousness of anything, just a sly slob. And finally Togod who represents another type of eternity, that of repetition, "repeat after me", and his final conclusion, "there is nothing". And that nothing is a white balloon on a string that came out of the hour slot into which Faustus had disappeared, a white balloon that Sly with the pin he will take from Mephistopheles' lapel will explode into one single bang that brings total darkness. The end. In fact we should speak of the clock as a sixth character but then a seventh is a kitchen robot that will start beating the air with its revolving beater at the end of the opera. And yet the number of the world is given by Mephistopheles when he defines the universe as being "nine: the seven planets, the firmament and the Empyreal heaven". And nine is Christ's death, though a death with the promise of a resurrection. What is amazing is that Dusapin has entirely Christianized the tale in a world where Christian symbols are no longer very vivid. In fact he has transformed Dr Faustus's tale into a new version of Waiting for Godot and Togod is nothing but the anagram of Godot. The two men, Vladimir and Estragon, are there redoubled by their two antagons, Pozzo and Lucky. The only difference seems to be that Dusapin has materialized Godot into Togod. Then we understand why time is central. It is no longer the Christian concept of time but the existential concept of time, that time we have to waste waiting for something that never comes, and never come it does since in the end we fly away into immensity, eternity, endless light. We are back before the beginning of time with only one little change, absolute darkness has been replaced by absolute light. Dusapin has thus invested Waiting for Godot in Dr Faustus and produced an extremely self-centered egotistic character who turns into a vaporous balloon that some kind of homeless pocket-picking thief explodes with a pin from Satan. Faustus is full of nothing, of thin air, of beans some would say, the beans with which you may make the poisonous broth you concoct in the eleventh hour to get rid of the evil minded devil that is haunting your life. In other words Faustus is nothing but hot air.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
A FANTASTIC EXAMPLE OF OPERA THEATER
Charles D. novak | minneapolis, minnesota USA | 08/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always wanted to be an opera director. I would choose that profession over being a super star tenor. In years of being a super for the Metropolitan and San Francisco Operas, I rehearsed with some of the best directors in the business in the late 50's and 60's. I was in awe with their abilities to create musical magic. When I now attend an opera performance my ears are for the singing and my eyes on what's going on the stage. I usually come up with "I could have done that" or "I wish I had thought of that!". FAUSTUS falls in the "I wish I thought of that" category. It is truly a perfect blend of singing and acting in a knock out production. The concept of placing the story on the face of a clock is nothing but genius. The fact the singers were able to move about on this constantly moving set and singing difficult music is astonishing. The clock and hands of the clock spin and move upright which at times gives the feeling of vertigo. The action matches the music every note of the way - or is it the other way around? You will not come away humming any of the music but the score works superby in the context of this opera. With an excellent five member cast and note perfect orchestra conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer, you will not be disappointed purchasing this DVD unless anything composed after Puccini is a complete turn off to you."
Nom de plume | saginaw, michigan | 03/01/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The meaning of this performance is unclear to me. And when I consulted the DVD notes, the individual responsible for the story criticizes Faust for being selfish. Faustian Man wants to know. He wants to understand and possess and control the universe. These are good things, not bad. But the Faustian Man writing these lines at this moment does not understand the bizarre dialogue and is suspicious that the entire thing is a scam for gullible people who dare not question what they are told is deep when in fact, perhaps, it is shallow."