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The Sunday Opera: Ferruccio Busoni's "Doktor Faust"

There are many versions of the Faust legend, and we’ll sample one on this week’s Sunday Opera (5/5 3:00 p.m.) from Ferruccio Busoni for which he also wrote the libretto.  Unfinished at the time of his death, it was completed by Busoni’s pupil Philipp Jarnach and then again in 1982 by Anthony Beaumont from recently discovered sketches by Busoni.  This Faust is more about love than he is power or wealth, and after an off-stage seduction of Gretchen, he suggests to Mefistofeles that her soldier brother should be killed.  He also seduces and runs away with a duchess whom he abandons, but she eventually returns as a homeless beggar with their dead child, and with a final act of good, Faust brings the baby back to life as a young man as he descends into hell.  

The cast from this Lyon Opera recording includes: Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, Dietrich Henschel, Markus Hollop, Kim Begley, Torsten Kerl, Eva Jenis, Detlef Roth, and William Dazeley with the National Opera Chorus of Lyon, the Grand Theatre Chorus of Geneva, and the Lyon National Opera Orchestra.  Kent Nagano is the conductor.  After the opera, join Michael Kownacky for more music of Busoni and his interesting “Turandot Suite.”

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.