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Faust

Date: 16-20 September 2004
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Culture Center
 
Music: Charles Gounod
Libretto: Jules Barbier and Michel Carre (after the dramatic poem of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
 
Hong Kong Sinfonietta
The Opera Society of Hong Kong
 
Conductor: David Stein
Director / Producer: Lo King Man
Chorusmaster: Raymond Fu
Repetirices: Nina Yip & Ariele Zanini
Set Designer: Charfi Hung
Costume Designer: Mandy Tam
Lighting Designer: Leo Cheung
Choreographer: Susan Street
Movement and Fight Director: Peter Jordan

Performed in French with Chinese and English subtitles.

The Cast
Faust (Tenor) : Jianyi Zhang (9/16, 18, 20), Rhys Meirion (9/17, 19)
Marguerite (Soprano): Deborah Wai Kapoche (9/16, 18, 20), Melody Alesi (9/17, 19)
Mephistopheles (Bass): Hye-soo Sonn (9/16, 18, 20), Ethan Herschenfeld (9/17, 19)
Valentin (Baritone): Chenye Yuan
Siebel (Mezzo Soprano): Joelle Fleury (9/16, 18), Melody Sze (9/17, 19, 20)
Wagner (Bass): Pong Chung Lam
Marthe (Soprano): Pancy Wong
Bishop: Peter Jordan
 
The Story
Act I The aged philosopher-scientist Faust sits in his study lamenting his wasted life. Twice he resolved to put on end to it by taking poison, and twice his hand is stayed by the sound of Easter merrymakers singing outside. Tarmented, he summons the devil and Mephistopheles appears before him. Faust reveals his longing for youth and pleasure to Mephistopheles, who assures him they can be his - if he will sell his soul. When the philosopher hesitates, the evil conjures up a vision of Marguerite. Enchanted, Faust agrees to the bargain, drinks a potion, and is transformed into a young man.

Act II A Kermesse or town fair is in progress. Valentin a young officer in the army, admires a medallion given him by his sister, Margarite, to whom he sings a touching farewell. A students' chorus is interrupted by Mephistopheles, who offers an impudent song in praise of greed and gold. He infuriates Valentin wit an insulting toast to Marguerite. Valentin draws his sword, prompting the others to ward off evil by holding their sword handles like crosses before Mephistopheles. As the crowd joins in a waltz, Faust enters. He meets Marguerite on her way toward church, but she declines his offer to escort her.
 
Act III Siebel, a young student infatuated with Marguerite, brings flowers to her, hoping that she may learn his devotion. Faust, guided by Mephistopheles, serenades Marguerite's dwelling. With the devil's help he leaves a casket of jewels to win Marguerite. The two men withdraw as she enters and seats herself in the garden, singing a ballad for her own pleasure. She interrupts the verses with reflections on the handsome stranger who had spoken to her. When she discovers the jewel casket she exclaims with delight, seeing herself decked in the precious gems. As night falls, Faust approaches and declares his love for Marguerite. She admits that she reciprocates his feelings, yet, still overcome with maidenly scruple, begs him to leave. He agrees but is urged to return by Mephistopheles, who laughs contemptuously as Marguerite yields to Faust's embrace.
 
Act IV Marguerite, oppressed with fear over her guilty love, seeks refuges in church, pursued by the relentless Mephistopheles, who curses her and torments her with damnation. In the square of the city, Valentin and his fellow soldiers return from the battlefield singing of the glory of those slain in combat. Valentin questions Siebel concerning Marguerite, but the youth replies evasively. Valentin's fears are realized when Mephistopheles arrives with Faust and serenades Marguerite with an improper song, which drives the brother to defend her honour. He fights a duel with Faust who, under the protection of Mephistopheles, wounds him fatally. Valentin curses Marguertie for all to hear, swearing that he dies by her hand alone.
 
Act V Marguerite in prison, condemned to die for the murder of her illegitimate child. Faust and Mephistopheles arrive, intending to lead her away. At first the distracted girl is overjoyed to see her lover. She refuses to leave and keeps recalling their first meetings. But when she sees Mephistopheles she calls on the angels to save her. As she dies, Mephistopheles pronounces her condemned, but angelic choirs are heard to proclaim her salvation. Heavenly radiance transforms the cell as Marguerite's should enters heaven.

Check out references for Gounod's Faust:
In English:
http://www.charles-gounod.com/vi/oeuvres/operas/faust.htm
http://www.treda.freeserve.co.uk/opex/faust/synopsis.html
In Chinese:
http://www.e-classical.com.tw/prtfamily/program/TaipeiOpera/o_99_822.html


Chorus of The Opera Society of Hong Kong
The Opera Society of Hong Kong was established by a group of dedicated singers in 1992. Since then it has fulfilled its mission of promoting western opera, operetta and vocal music in the Hong Kong community by performing to the highest levels of excellence. With the vision of emulating the most famous of the world's choruses, the Chorus has always striven to achieve professional standards of performance.

Since its establishment, the Chorus has performed more than 15 operas and much of the standard choral repertoire. In 1999, the Chorus was invited to join the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in the Millennium Concerts in Dongguang and Guangzhou, making a highly successful debut on the Mainland. The Chorus has worked with famous orchestras such as The Academy of St. Martin?s in the Fields, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, while in 2001 we performed in the Film and Music project Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc with the Anonymous 4. The CD Fruits on the Tree, which was recorded in May 2002 and published by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, received great critical acclaim: "well-balanced voice parts, sensational singing, a first class chorus in Hong Kong."
 
The Opera Society emphasizes the development of its members through providing intensive training opportunities. Members have enhanced their vocal technique and interpretative capabilities by participation in master classes with, among others, the world-renowned soprano Barbara Bonney, baritone Haojiang Tien and conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos.
 
Chorusmaster: Raymond Fu
French Coach: Jacques Seum-Souk
Rehearsal Pianists: Felix Yeung / Frances Wong
 
SOPRANO
AU Ho-yan, Agnes
BACH, Petra
CHEUNG Kit-shan,Veronica
CHING, Lily          
FU, Shirley             
LAI Ka-man, Amy 
LAM King-yam, Fabia
LEE, Winnie          
LEUNG Hoi-lam, Peony
LI Si-lai                  
LUK Kit-ying, Chris              
MOK Yee-ying, Emily
NG Wai-yi, Anna   
TING, Vivian         
WONG, Frances     
WONG, Pancy       
YANG, Jane           
YOUNG, Carrie
 
ALTO
CHENG, Marilyn
CHUI Shing-yan, Janet
LAM Wai-yee, Maria
LAU Tsz-man, Yvonne
LAW Pui-ha
LEUNG, Rita
LI, Nancy
LO, Bertha
NG, Connie
SO Lai-Fong
SUEN, Betty
TSANG Shing-ying

TENOR
CHAN Kam-hung
CHEUNG Chun-ho, Alfred
CHEUNG Shu-kan
CHIU Chi-tat, Harry
CHOI, Alberto
CHUI Ho-wa, Daniel
CHUNG Chi -wing
FU, Ka-lung
HUI Ka-chun, Ernest
HUNG Sze-hang
LAM, Felix
LAU Siu-ki
LEE, Kenneth
LEUNG, Yuk-hin
POON Kit-sang, Anthony
TAM Chi-ho, Herbert
TING Ka-larn, Tony
WONG Chi-lok
YEUNG Tat-ming, David
YEUNG Yun-loong
YING Ee-ping
YUNG Chi-wai, Eric
 
BASS
CHAN Kam-yan
CHEN, Alex
KEUNG Lap-shing
KWOK Kar.kit
LAM Chak-cheong, Charlie
PONG Chung-lam
SHIH Tsi-min
SIU Wai-man
TANG Pak-yau, Jason
TANG Sai-kin
WONG Po-to
YEUNG, Felix
YUEN Kin-kwan, Peter
YUEN, David

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