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"Faust" comes to HK stage in September

"Faust", the legend of a conjuror who sells his soul to the Devil, only to suffer the fires of Hell, will be brought to the Hong Kong stage next month.

Lo King-man, the producer and director of the five-act stage opera, said Johann Faust, on whose life the legend was based, lived in Germany from about 1480 to 1540. "He is reported to have attended university and studied theology, but he became notorious mainly for his practice of black magic and necromancy, his immoral lifestyle and his sinful conduct," Lo said. Lo has adapted the 20th century scenery for the coming production, which is different from his last production of "Faust" in 1985.

After Faust's death, Johann Spiess's book, "Volksbuch", and Christopher Marlowe's play, "Dr Faustus", immortalised the legend. Many different tellings of the story in a variety of media have followed.

Lo chooses the version of Barbier and Carre based on Goethe's story and Charles Gounod's music. "The phenomenal popularity of Faust can be attributed to Gounod's extraordinary skill in creating exquisite melodies of lasting appeal, Lo said.

"Every principal character has at least one memorable aria, and the duets and ensembles are superbly crafted: the tenor's cavatina, the soprano's jewel song, the Devil's serenade, the love scene in the moonlight, Valentin's farewell, Siebel's flower song, the soldiers' chorus, the trio at the final climax... With all these evergreen numbers, no wonder that Faust has been able to stay at the top of the box-office record for such a long time."

Renowned tenors Jianyi Zhang, of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Rhys Meirion, of Welsh National Opera, will perform in the title role. The Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the Hong Kong Opera Society Chorus under the leadership of David Stern, will deliver an exquisite mixture of philosophy and romance in this version of "Faust".

"Faust", an opera in five acts, will be staged at 7.30pm from Thursday to Monday (September 16 to 20)at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $650, $500, $360, $240 and $120 are now available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Group booking discount up to 30% off will be offer to any single purchase of 4 or more standard tickets. Please check out details from programme leaflets.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321; for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009; for credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999; for internet bookings, visit ; for more information, visit .

A free opera talk "The Production of Gounod's Faust: Work in Progress" conducted in English by Lo King-man will be held at 7.30pm on Wednesday (September 8) at Room AC2, 4/F, Administration Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Members of the public are welcome to attend and admission is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ends/Tuesday, August 10, 2004
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