REVIEWS | Operawire

Opéra de Lyon 2018-19 Review: Mefistofele

No ‘Olés’ for Àlex Ollé’s Latest Attempt To Explain The Legend Of Faust

Rustioni Arrives

Happily, the limitations of the dramaturgy were redeemed by excellent chorus singing on the stage and the magic wand of Daniele Rustioni in the pit.

Opéra Lyon’s enormously talented Musical Director was basically faithful to the integrity of the partitura except for two small cuts in the “un giorno nel fango mortale” music for Cherubini in the Prologue and a further excision for Coretidi (“Chi vien…”) in Act Four. ...

...The complex polyphony in the “Oriam, oriam” concertante section in the Prologue with its oratorio-like sonorites and emphatic crescendo marcato triplet accompaniment had real power without losing musicality and the top B natural for sopranos was choral singing at its finest. The “Juhé” chorus and Ridda e Fuga infernale were wild and orgiastic whilst retaining rhythm and raffinatezza.

The celestial trumpets were suitably intimidating and the massive fff brass-heavy orchestral tuttis powerful enough to intimate an imminent Armageddon. The marcatissimo marziale opening of Act One had punch and precision with decibel-shattering fff volume with tolling bells.

The low strings introduction to the Notte del Sabba scene was suitably spooky and later woodwind poltergeists plangent and chirpy with some especially effective playing from first clarinet. The obbligato during the Morte di Margherita scene was excellent. First flute also made a valuable contribution to “Ecco il mondo” and the Elena/Pantalis duet.

Strings were wistfully seductive in the andante amoroso introduction to Act Four and the final 5 bar sustained E-major tonality on “Ave” was sung and played “con tutta forza” as required and brought the opera to a tremendous conclusion.

Jonathan Sutherland, Operawire