Recording Date: 2006
Place of recording: Live recording from the Zurich Opera House
Running Time: Opera: 172 min
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Menu Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, I, SP
Subtitle Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, I, SP
DVD Video - 2 discs
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“The greatest opera ever written about the practice of magic cries out for sumptuous medievalism and CGA, but is usually lucky if it ends up with a statuesque mishmash like this 2006 Zurich Opera House production. But there have been worse attempts, and the musical values here are high. Philippe Jordan directs his superb orchestra with a real sense of the score's uncanny atmospheres, its aching lyricism and sombre rapture. Thomas Hampson, though often wooden in his acting, sings with immense feeling.”
“Presented here is Philipp Jarnach's version (completed for the premiere, unaware of the composer's notes for its unfinished sections, realised only by Antony Beaumont 60 years later) which Philippe Jordan prefers on musical grounds, 'whether it really fits with the rest of the work or not'. He approves of Jarnach's use of Wagnerian leitmotif and darker conclusion, finding it 'simply overwhelming' and Beaumont's more positive finale 'drier'. Jarnach's version is – unavoidably – a misrepresentation of Busoni's vision and stylistically jars the moment it starts. Beaumont's may be a musicologist's rather than composer's edition but it gives us more of Busoni's intentions. That aside, this production has many strengths. Hampson, after seeming ill-at-ease in the first Prelude, audibly grows into the role. Trattnigg is beguiling as the Duchess and Macias shines as the Soldier (Gretchen's griefstricken brother) and pompous Duke. The show is stolen, however, by Gregory Kunde's Mephistopheles, a portrayal vocally superb throughout and brilliantly acted. The Zurich Opera House Chorus are excellent. Some of Jordan's tempi are a tad measured but the orchestra's playing is assured. There are minor annoyances: for instance in Prelude 1, why do the Students not bring Faust the book, key and paper they sing about? A major omission is the Students' serenade to Wagner (Faust's former familius) at the start of the final scene. Wagner's replacement of Faust as Rector is included in the sung text and meaningless without its representation onstage. Musically, the cut section provides vital contrast between the defiance of the second scene's close and the denouement. Felix Breisach's video direction is commendably unfussy, catching both the scale of the production's biggest moments as well as Kunde's mischievous expressions. The Devil is truly in the detail.”
“…this production has many strengths, Hampson, after seeming ill-at-ease in the first Prelde… audibly grows into the role. Trattnigg is beguiling as the Duchess and Macias shines as the Soldier (Gretchen's grief-stricken brother) and pompous Duke. The show is stolen, however, by Gregory Kunde's Mephistopheles, a portrayal vocally superb throughout and brilliantly acted. Felix Breisach's video direction is commendably unfussy, catching both the scale of the production's biggest moments as well as Kunde's mischievous expressions.”
New York Times
“[Thomas Hampson possesses] all the physical and vocal energy one could wish for…..flourishes and ornaments leap out of his melodic lines….the gestures [are] also natural, his phrasing and pitch sure. Mr. Hampson, as his career justifiably grows, has preserved an unmannered charm.”
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