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Faust - Teatro Real Madrid


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Teatro Real Madrid (ESP), Premiere February 78, 2003

Faust (Gounod)

Text and Photos: Birgit Popp

The Madrid audience is considered rather as chilly, reserved concerning applause, especially during the act, but, obviously, it knows very well, when something is excellent – like the newest production at the Teatro Real, which had with Gounod's Faust in the 1997 Zurich production of late German stage director Götz Friedrich its first night on February 7, 2003. It might be the best production of the Teatro Real of the current season. Just everything fits. A marvelous production with drama, comic, emotion, wonderful dance scenes, in some parts rousing ballet appearances, forceful images, outstanding singers, an excellent playing, all nuances of this so varied, rich and colorful, in some parts intimate, in other moments to the Grand Opera comparable piece savoring orchestra under the baton of Alain Guingal and a choir precisely rehearsed by choir director Martin Merry. Opera in top class quality and the Madrid audience was not short with spontaneous applause and an unusual long-lasting, unanimous final applause in the first night for all persons involved including the production team with Claudia Bernardi-Blersch at the top, who realized for the in December 2000 passed away Götz Friedrich the production at Madrid and who was accompanied by the stage designer Andreas Reinhardt, the costume designer Jan Skalicky and the light designer Jürgen Hoffmann.

 The enthusiasm of the A-premiere on February 7 were for the young Venezuelan tenor and Alfredo Kraus student Aquiles Machado in the part of Doktor Faust, the US-American bass Robert Hale as Méphistophélès, the Italian soprano Mariella Devia as  Marguerite, the Canadian baritone Jean-François Lapointe  as Valentin and the Spanish mezzo-soprano Lola Casariego as Siébel, who are singing in the performances of February 7, 9, 12, 14 and 16 , and for the non-alternating smaller roles of the neighbor Marthe with the hilarious, in Argentina born, Spanish mezzo-soprano Mabel Perelstein and the Spanish bass-baritone Marco Moncloa as Wagner. Robert Hale, who is celebrated in the world's most important opera houses as incarnation of Wagner's Wotan, appealed by his smooth, elastic and impressive bass and his stage presence as gallant, the human beings to all vices seducing devil in human form. The in Madrid highly acclaimed Aquiles Machado, who had celebrated already as Rodolfo a big success in La bohème at the Teatro Real, convinced especially in the lyrical parts with his very well-tempered tenor. To his outstanding highlights belonged his aria in front of Marguerite's house in the third act as well as his duet with Mariella Devia. The celebrated coloratura soprano, who is as famous for her Verdi repertory, embodied a wonderful Marguerite with crystal-clear heights and rousing vocal expressiveness.


Seldom it will have had two as equally good casts. An absolute highlight not only of the Madrid performances but of all Faust performances, in the 1869 for the first time staged second version of Gounod's opera, it might have had with the performance of February 11 with Roberto Scandiuzzi as Méphistophélès, Richard Leech, who has made an important recording in this part with EMI in 1990, as Faust, Kathleen Cassello as Marguerite, José Julián Frontal as Valentin and Cecilia Díaz as Siébel, who sing in this constellation at February 8, 11, 13 and 15.

Roberto Scandiuzzi, at all leading opera house in the world celebrated especially for his Verdi repertory, succeeded not only to give his Méphistophélès deep bass power, but also in the moments, when he tries to butter up his victims, as well sweetish heights and his characteristic, staggering comic, in which only few singers succeed to bring it on stage in this manner. Vocally and as actor an absolute delight and so were the performances of Richard Leech and Kathleen Cassello. The US-American tenor sang with the greatest of ease through all difficult passages of the opera, which makes high demands on the tenor, since Faust is as an old man at the beginning of the opera a dramatic figure, which changes with the recovery of his youth to a lyrical part to demand, as Richard Leech said, in the fifth act almost the requirements for a Verdi tenor. He mastered these changes effortless and shined in stirring manner in the dramatic as in the lyrical moments. A very sensible, credible embodiment of Marguerite, who lives with great inner persuasiveness through the mental ups and downs and sings through with an especially in the middle range very nice soprano voice, is the US-American coloratura soprano Kathleen Cassello, who found new fans this evening. A enrichment is as well the in good line singing, with pleasant timbre supplied baritone of the Madrid born José Julián Frontal as Valentin and the typification of Marguerite's faithful admirer and friend Siébel by the Argentinean mezzo-soprano Cecilia Díaz, but who should be sometimes less sharp with her voice.

The Faust performances are accompanied by a rich exhibition of the works of Götz Friedrich in the staircase and intermission halls of the opera house.

Begleitet wird die Aufführungsserie durch eine reichhaltige Ausstellung zum Werk Götz Friedrichs in den Umgängen und Pausenräumen des Opernhauses.

Birgit Popp


Opera in five acts by Charles Gounod (1818-1893)

Libretto by  Jules Barbier and Michel Carré based on the drama of J. W. Von Goethe  

Musical direction


Alain Guingal

Stage direction


Götz Friedrich



Claudia Blersch

Stage design


Andreas Reinhardt



Jan Skalicky



Jürgen Hoffmann

Choir direction


Martin Merry

Stage direction assistance


Sergio Cappa

Stage design assistance


Kristina Siegel

Choreography assistance


José Reches



Ricardo Bini . Mark Sawyer . Borja Mariño

French pronunciation


Anita Tyteca


Dr. Faust


Aquiles Machado (7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18)
Richard Leech (8, 11, 13, 15)



Robert Hale (7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18)
Roberto Scandiuzzi (8, 11, 13, 15)



Jean-François Lapointe (7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18)
José Julián Frontal (8, 11, 13, 15)



Marco Moncloa



Mariella Devia (7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18)
Kathleen Cassello (8, 11, 13, 15)




Lola Casariego (7, 9, 12, 14, 16)
Cecilia Díaz (8, 11, 13, 15, 18)



Mabel Perelstein




Production of the Zurich Opera House (1997)

Choir and Orchestra of the Symphonic Orchestra of Madrid

Performances: February 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 2003  

Impressionen und Inhalt   Teil 1  -  Teil 2  -  Teil 3  Teil 4

Impressions and contents   Part 1  -  Part 2 Part 3  Part 4

Deutsche Version






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