Playing out across the plains of Hungary, throughout the German city of Leipzig, and in both the depths of Hell and the celestial heights of Heaven, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust is one of the most monumental works in the operatic and symphonic canon. For the work’s1846 world premiere in Paris, the theatrical and financial challenges of getting the piece to the stage necessitated a concert presentation, and no one attempted a fully staged (albeit abridged) production until 1893, almost 24 years after the composer’s death. During the 2019–20 season, the Met initially intended to revive director Robert Lepage’s innovative staging of the opera, but due to unanticipated technical challenges, the company instead opted to perform the piece in a concert setting. Far from lessening the impact of this sumptuous and rousing work, concert performances offered audiences the opportunity to focus even more closely on the musical intricacies of the kaleidoscopic score. In this radio broadcast from that run of performances, Edward Gardner conducts an electrifying account of Berlioz’s monumental opus, leading tenor Michael Spyres in his debut season as Faust, mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as Marguerite, and bass Ildar Abdrazakov as Méphistophélès.
Feb 8, 2020
Hector Berlioz and Almire Gandonnière
2 HRS 04 MIN
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus