Saturday, 5 April 2014

Faust in Hong Kong

Gounod Faust at the Royal Opera House this week with superlative casts. Plus, Luke Bedford's Through His Teeth based loosely on a Faustian pact, which those in the know have praised for its subtle intricacy. Faust in Hong Kong too at the Grand Theatre of the HK Cultural Centre. It's a joint production with Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur, Opéra Grand Avignon and Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Étienne, so will also be heard in France.

It's produced by Warren Mok, the great Chinese tenor. Read more about him here. It's good to have a singer in charge, especially one with such extensive experience.

Another very good reason for catching this Faust is ZhengZhong Zhou, who sings Valentin, a role he alternated at the Royal Opera House with Dimitri Hvorostovsky. Alternated - not replaced, and not in a second cast. He sang with Angela Gheorghiu, Vittorio Grigolo, and René Pape.  Zhou was a Jette Parker Young Artist and works with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as building a career in Europe, the US and China. Although I don't know any of the French cast,  Zhou stands out. He's distinctive, combining a good, flexible voice with strong technique and acting skills. How lucky HK will be to have him! The role in Gounod's opera is fairly substantial, far greater than in Goethe's original, and provides a balance to Marguerite and Seibel. Definitely a singer to nurture. So Hong Kong will now enjoy Faust and those rousing choruses "“Gloire immortelle”"

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