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The Sunday Opera: Louis Spohr's "Faust"

There have been some eighteen operas based on the legend of Faust, and on this week’s Sunday Opera (1/5 3:00 p.m.), we’ll hear one of the many lesser-known versions in Louis Spohr’s 1816 version.  The libretto by Josef Karl Bernard is based on the original legend and was not influenced by Goethe’s treatment.  In this version, Faust (Bo Skovhus) has two loves, the maiden Roschen (Brigitte Wohlfarth) whom he throws over for Kunigunde (Hillevi Martinpelto).  He gives Kunigunde a love potion created by the witch Sycorax (Martina Borst) on her wedding day, and Kunigunde’s attention to Faust causes Count Hugo (Robert Swensen), her betrothed, to challenge Faust to a duel.  With the help of Mephistopheles (Franz Hawlata), the Count is killed, Kunigunde goes mad, and Roschen drowns herself.  

There is no redemption in this version of “Faust,” with Mephistopheles dragging the hapless Faust down to hell.  Klaus Arp conducts the Southern Radio Chorus and South West Radio Orchestra of Kaiserslautern.  After the opera, join Michael Kownacky for more music by Spohr with the most revered of his oratorios “Die Letzen Dinge” or “The Last Judgement,” but Spohr’s last judgement is not full of fire and brimstone; it comes to a hopeful and comforting conclusion.  We’ll also here Spohr’s Notturno for Winds and Janissary Music.

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.