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Ken Russell opera and theatre




Ken Russell Faust

Charles Gounod's opera of Goethe's Faust directed by Russell. Singers are Francisco Araiza as Faust, Gabriela Benackova as Helena and Ruggero Raimondi as Mephistofeles. The Wiener Staatsoper is conducted by Erich Binder.  Vienna State Opera, 1985

Ken Russell Faust  Ken Russell Faust

My original review, based on the poor video, was "Despite the opera including nuns, priests and crucifixes this is a conventional staging of the opera, but no less good. Similar to his restrained work on Judith Paris´ play of Weill and Lenya.  Opening with Faust in his study, a coffin is delivered and a girl removed and placed on a table. She is revived, another Metropolis/ Bride of Frankenstein image (Aria, Dante's Inferno).  Mephistofeles later appears in a flash of smoke.  Faust is in one scene in front of a large fence, with nuns clawing his body through the fence, again a reference to Glenda Jackson in The Music Lovers (also reused in Valentino).  This is the only scene that is typical Ken Russell. But intriguingly the video includes the statement "The Walpurgis Night scene is omitted from this performance". Too many nuns?"

Ken Russell Faust  Ken Russell Faust  Ken Russell Faust

Watching the DVD changes everything.  The DVD, with the missing scene restored, shows Ken's visual imagery, Mephistofeles spearing the status of Jesus which then bleeds, the guillotine overshadowing the stage.

Ken Russell Faust



More stage work

Click title for opera or play The Rake's Progress *   Madama Butterfly * The Italian Girl in Tangiers * La Boheme *   Die Soldaten * Faust * Mefistofoles * Princess Ida * Salome * Weill and Lenya * Mindgame


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