'Faust' retold for 21st century
A 19th-century opera has certainly got an upgrade at Portland Opera, courtesy of visual artist John Frame.
Charles Gounod's "Faust" is a co-production of Portland Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. And Frame is at the center of the production, having been recruited by Christopher Mattaliano, general director of Portland Opera, to design the deeply evocative sets and costumes, 3D projections and live video feed.
The story of making a deal with the devil for a shot at eternal youth continues 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14, and Saturday, June 16, at Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St. It stars Jonathan Boyd in the title role, and Alfred Walker plays Mephistopheles. It's directed by Kevin Newbury. Victoria "Vita" Tzykun designed the costumes and set; David Adam Moore made the 3D projection mapping technology; Duane Schuler developed lighting.
"This is one of the most unique and exciting projects I've ever worked on," says Mattaliano, who first noticed Frame's work at Portland Art Museum 2012. "I was struck by the eerie beauty and inherent theatricality of his work."
Mattaliano says he has pursued having Frame to do a production for six years. The new production already played in Chicago in February.
Says Frame: "My biggest attraction to ('Faust') was that it deals with fundamental human questions, something I've tried to deal with in my own work from the very beginning. I'm really interested in the oldest human questions: 'Where do I come from?' 'What am I supposed to do while I'm here?' 'What's my relationship to nature?' ... And, in 'Faust,' the fundamental question is: 'What if I get to a point in my life where I feel like I'm wasting my life, like I've done it wrong?'"
Portland Opera performed "Faust" for the first time in 1966, and has since programmed the opera in 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2006. The opera originally premiered in Paris in 1859.
For tickets/info: www.portlandopera.org.