ENO’s Damnation of Faust…already damned?

English National Opera hasn’t been having too much luck with its idea of entrusting opera stagings to directors with no experience of staging opera. Matching fresh minds to old repertory is all very well but high-risk. And so far it’s resulted in disasters like the last Don Giovanni and damp squibs like the recent Gounod Faust – which I see has found no favour with Angela Gheorghiu. She was booked to sing this same production at the Met but has just pulled out on the enigmatic grounds that it wouldn’t be good for her reputation (as if cancelling the entire run of a show you’ve signed up for serves your reputation any better).

Meanwhile, ENO carry on regardless with another Faust – this time the Berlioz Damnation – and another first-time opera director, Terry Gilliam (the man who put the crushing foot into Monty Python’s graphics).

Whether it will be any better than the others, who knows?. But to help form your own opinion you might check out the short promo film ENO have released in advance of opening night. It’s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOrOX7-r3VE

I can only say that if I were a major opera company and this was all I’d been able to get from a director tackling a large and complex piece, I don’t think I’d have issued the film clip. But then, if I were a major opera company, I think had have ditched the first-time director idea by now.

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3 Responses to ENO’s Damnation of Faust…already damned?

  1. Rolytaylor says:

    I enjoy your site too! I don’t agree with this post though…
    But we are having a ‘damn’ good time preparing for this show.

    Terry’s concept for the production is, in my view, quite amazing. Inspiring. I work at the ENO so don’t take it from me. Take it from Terry.
    He’s going to be popping up on our blog over the next few weeks.

    Do take a look…

  2. catherine says:

    Just came from the dress rehearsal for D of Faust. All I can say is that I hope this will be the first of many operas for Terry Gilliam. It was absolutely amazing. I can’t imagine I’ll ever forget it!

  3. opera boy says:

    Did you write this blog entry just to get some mileage out of the pun in your title?

    It’s a Fabulous show” http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/may/07/the-damnation-of-faust-review?INTCMP=SRCH

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