This was the second time I’ve seen a production by the West Australian Opera, the first being a production of “Cinderella” a few months back. If these two productions are an indication, the West Australian Opera is a well-kept secret, at least to those from “The Eastern States”.
This production was, however, very different to that of “Cinderella”. “Faust”, based on the book by Goethe, tells the story of a character who, realising his life is passing him by, makes a deal with the devil. After falling in desperately in love with Marguerite, killing another character, and upon realising the relationship with Marguerite can never be, because of her faith, Faust recognises the error of his ways in signing such a pact with the devil. Both end up in a psychiatric institution, but only Marguerite is saved. I thought it was “very Catholic!”.
This production of “Faust” (sung in French) was excellent. It was well paced and directed and very well sung. About three hours long, it never dragged and, if anything, I found the second half even more engaging. (Must be the Catholic in me!!) The set design was also great. The only weakness was perhaps the odd occasion when an “Australian” French accent showed through in the dialogue.
Although star billing for the show was given to Dennis O’Neill, most of the audience, including myself, gave greater applause to ther performances of Bruce Martin as “Mephistopheles” and Elisa Wilson as “Marguerite”. Wilson, in particular, was spectacular, displaying both strong emotions and intelligence in her performance. As a Perth girl, I’m sure the locals were also pleased to see her perform so well.