Date 22nd February 2020
Society Bath Opera
Venue Roper Theatre, Bath
Type of Production Opera
Director Dave Key-Pugh
Musical Director Rupert Drury


Author: Dee Way

A visit to Bath Opera is always a great experience, with wonderful music, singing and acting set in simple but effective staging. This production maintained that reputation to the full.

The direction was nicely inventive, with very good use of the gauze curtain, especially in the opening. Having the chorus behind this gauze immediately created a sense of mystery and separation that echoed throughout the show. The final scenes with Marguerite were immensely powerful in design. I particularly liked the use of the balcony for the chorus of angels. The use of the off-stage organ for the final scenes was fantastic, giving great richness, drama and depth to the score.

The set was well devised for easy moves and subtle changes, hence not interrupting the flow of the narrative at all. However, there was enough detail to suggest the garden, village, church and cell while leaving good acting space. The variety of levels, although not massive, did create a sense of purpose in entrances and exits and broke up the acting space very well.

The music was beautiful. The melodies were exquisitely played and the varieties of moods were wonderfully created. The singing was of a very high standard, with very clear diction and variety of tone. Add to this the lovely costumes, make up and choreography, and this was a production that told the story clearly and with good sensitivity.

The three main leads performed exceptionally well. However, it was Mephistopheles that made the deepest impression. To combine the voice, size, character and look so well was quite remarkable. Faust was very well acted and sung, particularly in the opening, when he is an old man, while his transformation into his younger self was very well handled. The relationship he built with Marguerite was very strong and clearly portrayed. Marguerite was beautifully played as the innocent village girl who gets entangled in Mephistopheles' contract with Faust. The emotion contained in the singing here was superb. The other leads were all very well played and sung, with lovely development of character, while the chorus kept the action moving all the time to very good effect.

All in all, this production was a stunning presentation of the old story of good and evil, with beautiful music and song. My congratulations to you all for a wonderful show!