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The Sunday Opera: Hector Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust" from the Salzburg Festival

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Salzburg is lovely this time of year, and that’s where we’re going for this week’s Sunday Opera (7/17 3:00 p.m.) and a concert version of Hector Berlioz’s “The Damnation of Faust” that was featured last August in the Salzburg Festival.

Berlioz’s take on the Faust legend was based on a translation of Goethe’s work by Gerard de Nerval and follows the aging Faust as he is rejuvenated by the malicious Mephistopheles, seduces the innocent Margurite who accidentally kills her mother, and ultimately sacrifices his soul to save that of the innocent Margurite whom he came to love.

Charles Castronvo is the Faust in this performance, and Elina Garanca is his Marguerite. Ildar Abdrazakov sings the role of Mephistopheles, and Brander, the student who sings “The Song of the Rat,” is Peter Kellner.

They’re joined by the Vienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association and the Salzburg Festival and Theatre Children’s Choir with Alain Altinoglu conducting.

We have more music of Berlioz on offer after the opera when Michael Kownacky brings you two familiar yet very different pieces. We’ll begin with the program work in Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique which follows a young artist’s descent into madness and attempted suicide because of his perceived, unrequited love. This important work of early Romantic music will be performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.

The second work, although based on Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” chiefly uses the mood of Byron’s work for this non-program piece that features a viola solo to represent Harold as he observes a series of disparate scenes. Wolfram Christ is the violist in this performance, and he’s joined by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Lorin Maazel.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.
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