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Stefano Poda’s production of Faust from Turin is less challenging. I had high hopes of this, as his staging of Thaïs in this theatre remains perhaps the most magically stunning production I have ever seen live. However, where Massenet’s opera allowed Poda to drift into dream world, albeit with artistic rigour, Faust offers no such freedom, its plot demanding to be told as straightforward narrative. Poda provides an elegant set, based around a flexible walled ring, and lights his production with subtlety. Yet beyond the physical attraction of the staging I found little to mark the production out from the crowd. Gianandrea Noseda conducts with a sense of purpose from the start – not showy, but making one listen more keenly. Charles Castronovo is a Romantic vision as Faust, and his tenor is clear and idiomatic. Ildar Abdrazakov is an excellent Méphistophélès, resisting the urge to gurn his way through the role, instead being disarmingly charming, with an elegant line to his bass. Irina Lungu looks a picture; she has all the coloratura for her Jewel Song, though it doesn’t quite sparkle. But once it’s out of the way she has a dark-hued soprano which rises to the increasingly dramatic vocal demands of Marguerite.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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