by Paula Citron
The COC’s production of Gounod’s Faust is a Nick Muni creation – that is, the American designed and directed the opera. That means there is symbolism galore including lots of lime green lighting by Thomas C. Hase. It may not be for all tastes, but I always find Muni’s vision imaginative if overkill. The last 20 minutes are as exciting as opera can get.
I also found the singing quite strong with talented Canadians – tenor David Pomeroy as Faust, baritone Brent Polegato as Valentin, and mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal as Siébel – giving a very good account of themselves.
Spanish soprano Ana Ibarra as Marguerite has a clear, thrilling voice but slides into her high notes, while Latvian bass Egils Silins as Méphistophélès got less woofy and more powerful as the evening went on. Reliable English mezzo-soprano Susan Gorton was a strong Marthe. The conducting by Yannick Nézet-Séguin was divine.
A satisfying production all round.
Faust continues until Feb. 24.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.