Magazine article Opera Canada

San Francisco Opera

Magazine article Opera Canada

San Francisco Opera

Article excerpt

Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea, who has risen rapidly to world stardom, brought understated charm to Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust at San Francisco Opera (Jun. 11).The part lies perfectly for his suave voice and his youthful, towering appearance. In a recent interview, Relyea suggested future moves into Verdian or even Wagnerian terrain. For now, we can revel in the delightful ease, range and tonal beauty of his instrument, as well as his onstage charisma.

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All eyes focused on Relyea and Patricia Racette (Marguerite) in this traditional-looking production from Chicago, directed by Jose Maria Condemi with sets and costumes by Robert Perdziola. They brought a museum piece to genuine new life.

Also central to this success was the debut of conductor Maurizio Benini, who led the orchestra in a propulsive yet sonically lush performance, evoking the great beauty and dramatic power of Faust.

Marguerite describes herself as "neither important nor pretty," but her ravishing music undercuts this claim. …

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