Perf. Arts Hall of Gulf Coast HS
February 24, 26, 2012
Faust as seen through the eyes
Everybody has agreed that Faust has been Opera Naples greatest
production to date. Steffanie Pearce, the brilliant and beautiful
founder and artistic director of Opera Naples, put together a great
team. New Managing Director Thomas Smith must be a very
welcome addition to this very fast growing Opera Naples which
now boasts of it's own orchestra.
I attended both the dress rehearsal on Thursday and the final
production on Sunday. Webmaster Gail asked me to do a review
and who can refuse Gail anything, despite the fact that this was very hard for me for a number of reasons. The biggest factor was that I know nothing about Opera and a High C is probably some kind of Orange drink. The only person trained and qualified to do a proper review from the website, the Juliard trained Soprano Berta Calechman, could not get to Naples.
This is to be mainly a synopsis, so I won't be saying much about individual performances, but I'll say right here that I
thought Anthony Kearns, as Faust, was wonderful...pure perfection, perfect timing and control, and so much more.
He was truly magnificent.
At the dress rehearsal I first sat right behind the incredible Mastero Nadler and the orchestra. Faust was in his bed with disgusting "Marco Island" furless cats without tails but with human faces crawling all over him. These two females stole the show as a result of the incredible choreography of Rosa Mercedes from Miami. She is married to the brilliant stage director for this Opera, Jeffrey Marc Buchman. His work surpassed anything I had ever seen before.
I had seen the production where Joanas Kaufman was Faust and
actually married in real life to a Marguerite, but the production
in no way compared with what Jeffrey achieved with great
theatrics and lighting. Opera expert Harriett Heithaus's
(Naples Daily News) reviews say it all far better than I can
relate here. See it elsewhere on this site.
Faust woke up and the disgusting she devils had vanished
with just one demon in his view! He hobbled out of his bed
and proceeded to pour out some poison to finish his miserable
and lonely existence on this earth but somehow could not
get the courage to do so. The devil came to visit him, as
happens often to people in real life too.
Limping around the stage in advanced old age, long straggly
hair dangling beneath a very large bald patch, he was a
pitiful sight thinking of women and power in his ankle length
In Ireland we were warned to steer clear of Country Bumpkins
who wore their wellingtons covered in cow manure to bed and
you could never keep the sheets washed often enough if you
married one of them. Well, Faust must have been some distant
cousin of one of those as he was wearing his shoes in bed.
Maybe there was a good reason for that, as it was obvious that
Faust had not spent much money on a bed out of Clive Daniel
Home, but had a bed made out of wood nailed together, so
there might have been stray nails on the floor still!! Of
course we were present in another century, too.
He must have had an inkling that he would get all his wishes
granted when he had the bed made, as there were wheels
under it that served a good purpose later in the opera.
It was not difficult for the incredible Gary Simpson in the
role of Mephistopheles, the devil, to get him to sign up for
eternal damnation in return for the fulfillment of all his base desires.
Steffanie Pearce had told me about the incredibly fast
costume change that Faust had to perform. Within seconds,
the bedraggled and limping Faust was transformed into what
somebody described elsewhere as a 'chick magnet' in the
form of a now twenty something Faust.
Satan promised him he would find him a good and holy
woman to seduce and destroy. They searched through the
crowds at a fair to find her, she resisted at first but on finding
a box full of beautiful jewels sent to her by Faust, she shrieked
with delight. She tore through the box of wordly temptations,
and put on earrings. Faust now had her by the ear, ready to
drag her off to bed and to hell.
How Lina managed to put on those earrings with such
ease and grace was amazing. All of us Ladies know how
difficult it is to put on earrings when one is in a big hurry
so how great is the actress who can do this in view of a
couple of hundred people and very fast too, lest she get a
belt of his baton from the great Mastero Nadler should she
Satan had even achieved the miracle of having it rain drink
at the fair and lots of people were there with their mouths
open trying to catch some drops that fell in a very timely
fashion from the ceiling in the form of some type of red
sprinkles, yet another proof of the brilliance of Stage
Mephisopheles, in the form of Gary Simpson, was a very
theatrical and commanding presence on stage, a person
who should be performing in Shakespearian roles. Well it
would be great to team up with him for a trip to Ireland
so that it could rain drink on my next visit home to Bansha,
Ireland and I would not have to loose money buying rounds
In my reviews I try to weave in some Irish history or folklore.
Here I need to mention that despite from being from the Party
I did not support, a great hero of mine was a man called
Alan Dukes who spoke Gaelic fluently. I once spent several
hours at the Dail (the Irish Parliament) watching this brilliant
man in action. When going for election, one of his detractors
from my political group, I presume, said about him "If it were
raining soup, Alan would be out with a fork".