Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Ferruccio Busoni DOKTOR FAUST

Doktor Faust – Thomas Hampson
Wagner, sein Famulus / Zeremonienmeister– Günther Groissböck
Mephistopheles – Gregory Kunde
Der Herzog von Parma / Des Mädchens Bruder / Soldat – Reinaldo Macias
Die Herzogin von Parma – Sandra Trattnigg
Ein Leutnant – Martin Zysset
Chorus and Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House/Philippe Jordan, conductor
Klaus Michael Grüber, stage director
Eduardo Arroyo, stage design
Eva Dessecker, costumes Jürgen Hoffmann, lighting

Recorded live from the Zurich Opera House, 2006
Bonus feature: - Excepts from pre-performance talk with Thomas Hampson
- Interview with Philippe Jordan
Running time:

Arthaus DVD 101 283 [172 mins (opera) + 43 mins (interviews)]

This is one of the great early 20 C operas. It has never quite made its way alongside such as Wozzeck, Peter Grimes etc becase of the complexities of the (unfinished) score and the exceptional difficulty and expense of mounting it properly.

The problems (as well as their faith in its importance) are traversed in useful 'extras' by devotees Hampson & Jordan (four extra conductors were needed in Zurich !).

The music is Busoni at his richest best, and it develops themes and harmonies from earlier works; the Busoni "sound" is unique and if you haven't lived with it as we have (he is one of my favourite composers) it may be found 'difficult'. He suffered from being both after his time and remote from the avant garde tastes of the early 20th C.

This production is convincingly, indeed memorably, staged and provides a setting for outstanding performances by Hampson (who tells us of its crazy difficulties) and Kunde as a cheerfully sinister Mephistopheles. Trattnigg makes a strong Herzogin von Parma.

DVD tends to give a stereo spread of sound across the stage, but isn't so good at conveying the depth of the sound spectrum with the groups separately conducted. But it is an important record of what must have been memorable experiences attended live, & we will certainly be returning to it as soon as time allows...

Peter Grahame Woolf