Bass Samuel Ramey returns to a role of which he has made a specialty throughout his long and distinguished career: Mephistopheles. William Burden, something of a tenor matinee idol, sings the title role for the first time in a large house; his Marguerite is Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri, making both her role debut and her first appearances at Houston Grand Opera. (The Chronicle's Charles Ward wrote that "she demanded the listener's attention as she passionately poured out sound ... [and] created full-blown mood and emotion from just a handful of words.") Mezzo Marie Lenormand sings Siebel (with "wads of youthful freshness," said Ward), and baritone Earle Patriarco plays Valentin. Elizabeth Bachman directed the revival; conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing leads the HGO Orchestra and Chorus.
There are additional performances of Faust tonight, January 26 and 28 and February 3 at the Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Information and tickets are available at www.houstongrandopera.org.
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All photos by Brett Coomer/Houston Grand Opera.