What We Feel and What We Mean
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Dr. Faustus en Français

Il y a une raison pour tout. Dans l’opéra, Faust, la langue était le français, par opposition à son emplacement en Amérique. La langue est l’un des meilleursmoyens pour transmettre une émotion vraie – Traduction peut affecter sa clarté et la description de manière irrévocable.

Faust was an extremely interesting production. Firstly, its setting was a work of art on its own. The MET opera house is incredibly beautiful, any other adjective to describe it would be an insult to its structure. The stairs, the atmosphere, the crowd – all of it was so entrancing. It almost felt like we were all in a different world. Being the premiere of a new opera, it felt more like a gala with elegant women in dresses that I can only dream of affording and dapper men in spiffy tuxedos.

I loved the fact that we were all so high up. This way, we could all appreciate the immense grandeur of the MET. Also, we had no problem seeing the whole production of Faust. If we were on any other level, there would definitely be some structures obscuring our view. Also, being so high up, we had the privilege of seeing the whole orchestra as well as the chandelier rising.

I have studied French for more than half my life, but, to my undeniable sadness, I could not understand the language. I tried not to read the translator, but I could only catch a few words here and there. I was quite forlorn about that because I truly looked forward to absorbing the opera in French as it was meant to be and not with subtitles. Nonetheless, the singing was beautiful. The sound emitted from those artists’ mouths was nothing less than magical. How it could reach our level without the use of microphones is beyond my comprehension. It most definitely is a physics principle.

Thank goodness we went over the storyline in class or else I truly would have been lost. It took me a while to realize that they actually went back in time in order for Monsieur Faust to be with Mademoiselle Marguerite. But, it was magnificent. Each actor played their role with fluidity and grace. They each were their own respective character. The conflict in the play was so well done. The fact that it was all so modern: the devil, hell, the setting – it’s just sheer genius! Who would have thought to put such a period opera in the twentieth century? The director of the play is an irrefutable genius.

The opera is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It has no comparison. The television cannot capture the atmosphere of your fellow watchers. It cannot give you the same emotion as the actors’ voices. You need to watch an opera with your own eyes. The opera is your experience; the television somewhat creates it for you already, so there is no originality on your part. You can interpret the opera in any way you want while the television is already a bit biased by showing you a section of the stage whilst you can be watching the whole panorama of it and absorbing it all in. On television, you are just looking at the opera. At the opera, you are the one experiencing it.

I absolutely loved the opera. My only wish was that I was not completely lost in the final third of the opera.I was completely dazzled by this modern production of Faust.

1 comment

1 Aniqa Bari { 12.11.11 at 6:50 pm }

I completely agree that the overall feel of the opera: the dresses, the stairs, its grandeur give one an experience that few other productions can illicit. I think the opera is both about the spectacle and the actual production itself. I also thought that our seats gave us an overall feel and allowed us to see parts of the opera house that we would have missed if we were closer up.

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