Difficult journey to DAMNATION OF FAUST. It almost invariably takes about half an hour nowadays for the bus to crawl up Whitehall, stay stuck at Trafalgar Square for ages, and let us out on the Strand. Maddening. Thank the gods I was feeling less rough than I did yesterday, and H was considerably better, having defeated her lurghy, she reckons, with huge doses of echinea.
I like Dof F well enough, but it doesn't usually work all that well as a staged opera. Gilliam has updated the period to the rise of the Nazis, and with the kind of amazing visuals you'd expect from him, it's cerainly the most dramatically satisfying version I've seen.
The Hungarian March and Ride to the Abyss are as spectacular as you could wish for, and the macabre final tableau left the audience in stunned silence for a moment before the eruption of applause..
Edward Gardner conducted with less full whack crazy Berlioz passion than one might have desired, and personally I prefer a true bass Mephistopheles, so Christopher Purves sounded lightweight to me. That said, he sang beautifully. Christine Rice's Marguerite was also excellent, and tenor Peter Hoare deserved a standing ovation just for enduring the alarming coup de theatre that illustrates his final punishment. Crikey!