Monday, February 19, 2007

Formidable Faust

On Saturday night, Abhi, Noreen, Renu and I went to see Faust by the Canadian Opera Company at the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. It was absolutely amazing. They have a program called Opera for a New Age in which people 30 and under can get discount tickets to see the opera and gain an appreciation for it. We took advantage of these $20 tickets (which go for $95-$275 regularly) and it was incredible.

The actors and musicians were so talented. The set design, costumes, acoustics, ambiance, everything was really authentic and detailed. There were so many cool stage elements. The stage rotated, things came from the ceiling and other things lowered in to the ground. It looked awesome. The music was incredible from the orchestra to the singers. Even though it was in French we could follow along with the surtitles provided on top of the stage.

The show is produced in such a way that no matter where you are sitting you can enjoy the show. We were on the top balcony and it was still fantastic. My favourite scene was one with this larger than life nun puppet which was being controlled by the actors. It head and arms moved and danced and captivated the audience. Beside is a picture of the theatre. You can see just how huge the place is!

The opera, Faust, is about an old man (Faust) who is sells his soul to the devil (Méphistophélès) to become youthful again. Faust falls in love with a young girl Marguerite and commands the devil to take him to her. There are some entertaining scenes with the devil and the villagers, including the one with the nun puppet. Faust, with the help of the devil, woos Marguerite and she sucuumbs to his advances. This was a funny scene because the devil had to be the wing man and entertain Marguerite's friend who ended up liking the devil. Marguerite then has Faust's baby and he leaves her. Opera is so much more risque than I thought! Faust goes back to see Marguerite but her brother, Valentin, intervenes. They battle, and with the urging of the devil Faust kills Valentin. Marguerite is taunted by the devil and goes crazy and kills her baby. The devil takes Faust away to a witches sabbath and takes him to a palace full of beautiful cortesans. Faust gets intoxicated and has a terrible vision of Marguerite being executed and insists the devil take him to her. Faust tries to get Marguerite to come with him even though they will be eternally damned. She recognizes the devil and says no. She begs God to forgive her when she is executed. She is saved and sent to heaven.

So the second half was pretty depressing but I think most Opera involves tragedy so you can't escape it.

During the intermission we went down to the first floor and looked at all the rich people who had bought the $300 tickets. They looked very nice and really dressed up! We even had a minor celebrity sighting of Peter Kent who used to be a news anchor for Global. We all recognized him but Renu put it all together! We got come cookies and gourmet nuts. I guess thats fancy opera snacks for you.

Afterwards we walked over to The Queen Mother. It was a cute place with a British pub vibe but with a multicultural flare in the food. They even had some paper lanterns up for Chinese New Year. We got some good snacks. Renu and I shared a Spicy Red bean sip which was yummy. Noreen had some Rice Paper Spring Rolls and Abhi had an Goat cheese and arugula salad. We had a delicious triple chocolate mousse at the end. Abhi struggled with her bowl of Mochaccino at the end. lol.

It was such a wonderful fun night and I can't wait to do it again.

If you ever get a chance to see the Canadian Opera Company- do it! You won't be disappointed!!

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