About us / Contact

The Classical Music Network


Europe : Paris, Londn, Zurich, Geneva, Strasbourg, Bruxelles, Gent
America : New York, San Francisco, Montreal                       WORLD

Your email :



A Solid Faust from Opéra de Montréal

Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Arts
05/19/2012 -  & May 22, 24, 26, 2012
Charles Gounod: Faust
Guy Bélanger (the old Faust), Antoine Bélanger (the young Faust), Mary Dunleavy (Marguerite), Alexander Vinogradov (Méphistophelès), Étienne Dupuis (Valentin), Emma Parkinson (Siebel), Noëlla Huet (Marthe), Philip Kalmanovitch (Wagner)
Orchestre Métropolitain and the Chœur de l’Opéra de Montréal, Emmanuel Plasson (conductor), Claude Webster (chorus master)
Alain Gauthier (director), Olivier Landreville (sets), Dominique Guindon-Opéra de Montréal (costumes), Martin Labrecque (lighting)

G. Bélanger & A. Bélanger (© Yves Renaud)

Opéra de Montréal (OdM) concluded its 2011-12 season with one of its best new productions in recent memory. The singing was consistently first rate. Guy (making his overdue company debut) and Antoine Bélanger, father and son, portrayed old and young Faust respectively with vigor, sensitivity and color, their voices similar except for the additional gravitas of Bélanger Senior. Mary Dunleavy’s warm, dark soprano was well suited for Marguerite. Her singing ran an impressive gamut from wrenching remorse, aching tenderness, to juvenile delight. The young Étienne Dupuis as Valentin was solidly focused and rang out with assurance and panache—the finest performance I’ve heard from him. He is ready for meatier roles. Emma Parkinson projected a sturdy, wholesome sound in the trouser role of Siebel. Noëlla Huet as Marthe was a delight. Her brief duets with Mephistopheles bristled with electricity. If her role had been more substantial she would have stolen the show. The outstanding voice, however, belonged to the extraordinary basso profundo of the young Russian, Alexander Vinogradov. His voice was rich in timbre, radiant and sonorous. Surely it filled every nook and cranny of the hall.

É. Dupuis (© Yves Renaud)

Equally impressive was the hybrid traditional/contemporary set by Olivier Landreville. Seven giant bookcases that filled the space downstage served as a backdrop to portray Faust’s library, then separated to shape other settings such as the tavern scene and chapel. It is gratifying to see what great results can spring from a small budget. Alain Gauthier’s stage direction was intelligent and innovative, especially the pyramidal chorus structuring concluding Act II. The choreography (not credited in the program) was modern, full of complicated movements and sharply executed. Marc Labrecque’s lighting was an economical but rich palette of red, violet and yellow and employed just the right emphasis to illustrate the settings. The costumes by Dominque Guindon were an arbitrary mixture of traditional peasant garb, punk and fascist military.

The choruses were well prepared by chorus master Claude Webster, the off-stage singing as clear and intelligible as the on-stage. Entries were spot on. The Orchestre Métropolitain, led by Emmanuel Plasson (son of conductor Michael Plasson), provided even support but not much excitement.

This is the second consecutive, top-notch production I’ve seen from Opéra de Montréal this season (the other was Il Trovatore in January). I look forward to the 2012-13 season which will include Der fliegende Holländer and the Montreal première of Dead Man Walking.

Earl Arthur Love



Copyright ©ConcertoNet.com