Vancouver Island Opera.
The fortunate Vancouver Island Opera audience on Oct. 27 witnessed a beautiful presentation of Gounod's Faust. Under the direction of Tatiana Vasilieva, a vibrant young cast brought Gounod's familiar piece to life. The performers blended well vocally, sensitively accompanied by the orchestra and all under the direction of John Arsenault.
Matt Chittick launched his portrayal of Faust as a depressed, suicidal old man who could not even be cheered by the exuberant female chorus. His vocal range enabled him to shift easily from the old man's lower-register grumblings to the clear tenor of the youthful Faust, most I notably in "Salut, demeure chaste et pure."
Bass Michael MacKinnon burst onto the scene with evil vigor as Mephistopheles. His body language oozed satanic qualities, with subtle suggestive gestures and a bold use of tongue. Dora Brooks' light, clear soprano captured Marguerite's innocence in the opening scenes, but took on a stronger, passionate timbre as she began to respond to Faust's courtship and finally became ethereal as she prayed to the angels to save her soul in the final act. Peter Alexander sang Valentin boldly, his confrontation with the Devil demonstrating both his powerful baritone and acting ability, while mezzo Janessa O'Hearn delightfully captured and sustained the pants role of Siebel. Martha was credibly portrayed by mezzo Carol Ann Rosedale and the student Wagner by Max van Wyck.