Mephisto Project is the Faust legend viewed through the eyes of the devil – the original pact, the seduction of Marguerite, the damnation of Faust, and Marguerite’s redemption.

Mephisto Project is an examination of the devil persona in French opera – the quintessence of evil in Gounod’s Faust, the cynic in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, and the rogue in Hervé’s Le Petit Faust.

Mephisto Project is a meditation on the devil in all of us.

Inspired by the myriad expressions of the devil in French opera, the Mephisto Project is an experimental work combining opera, modern dance, theatre and videography.

In a musical and literary journey through the 19th and 20th centuries, a histrionic Mephisto (based on Gounod’s Faust) tries to convince the audience that he is the ultimate incarnation of the Prince of Darkness. But he is constantly interrupted by competing manifestations of the demonic spirit: first by a cynical Mephistopheles adapted from Berlioz’s légende dramatique, then by a cross-gender devil out of Hervé’s opéra bouffe. Our Mephisto is reminded that he may not be evil incarnate, but rather one of its many faces. The real goal of the evening appears not to be Mephisto’s claim to Faust’s soul, but a competition between demonic rivals for the title of true Master of Hell.

Conceived for two basses, mezzo-soprano, pianist and dancer, the performance combines operatic sequences from Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, Gounod’s Faust, Hervé’s Le Petit Faust, solo piano works by Liszt and Ravel, and theatrical monologues from Marlowe, Goethe and Stein. Video and film excerpts (including Marcel Carné’s Les Visiteurs du soir) provide a cinematic backdrop to the performance.

The Cast
MEPHISTO #1 – Daniel Mobbs, bass-baritone

MEPHISTO #2 – Keith Miller, bass

MEPHISTO #3 and MARGUERITE – Jennifer Rivera, mezzo-soprano

FAUST – Bénédicte Jourdois

MARGUERITE’S SOUL – Marjorie Folkman, dancer/choreographer

Conceived and staged by Jean-Philippe Clarac & Olivier Deloeuil

Duration: 70 minutes

About Opéra Français de New York

Now in its 19th season, Opéra Français de New York’s commitment to presenting works from the French operatic repertoire has made the company an integral part of the cultural life of the city. From the French Baroque period through contemporary opera, OFNY offers New York audiences the opportunity to see and hear rare French works in often provocative and innovative productions. http://ofny.org/

June 19 and 20, 2008

at 8:00 pm

Tickets from $30

$20 (for under 25’s and PS122 members)

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