Faust | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader

Faust Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Mon., Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Oct. 8, 2 p.m., Sun., Oct. 11, 2 p.m., Wed., Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., Tue., Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Oct. 23, 2 p.m., Fri., Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m., Tue., Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. 2009

Lyric Opera's production of Charles Gounod's Faust moves the story from its Renaissance setting to the mid-19th century, when the opera was written. The result is Victorian Gothic—think A Christmas Carol or Sweeney Todd—melodic, archly melodramatic, and thoroughly entertaining. It's perfectly cast, with Polish tenor Piotr Beczala convincing as both the old and young Faust; Puerto Rican soprano Ana Maria Martinez as his girl in trouble, Marguerite; German bass Rene Pape as an irresistible Mephistopheles; and Ryan Opera Center mezzo Katherine Lerner in the trouser role of Marguerite's young admirer, Siebel. All perform superbly, along with the Lyric Opera chorus and orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davis. Robert Perdziola's fairy-tale sets and jewel-toned costumes, richly lit by Christine Binder, transform a background of graystone facades from the old Faust's morguelike laboratory into Marguerite's star-spangled garden and finally a dungeon stairway that sweeps to heaven. They're the perfect complement to Frank Corsaro's smartly distanced stage direction, which in a heavy moment gives the triumphant soldiers' chorus a darkly ironic reading but mostly refuses to take the melodrama too seriously. Through November 7; Beczala will replaced by Joseph Kaier and Pape by Kyle Ketelson in the last three performances. —Deanna Isaacs

Price: $46-$207

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