07. May 2012 · 10 comments · Categories: Ramble

We are done with Faust. And I was done with Faust after the first couple of rehearsals. I’m sorry to admit this, but it just doesn’t feed my soul. The music is, to me, ho-hum.

There. I said it.

I know I”m in the minority, since it’s one of the most popular operas, or so I’ve been told. But really, as easy as it is for oboe, it was more tiresome than many because it wasn’t my sort of thing. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I can relax about my playing; no matter if I like something or not, I still have to give it my best. (Even with the bad reeds I have at the moment!) But really … this work is very popular!?

The singers were good. It’s not about that. The orchestra was fine. It’s not about that, either. It’s just about the music. It doesn’t do anything for me. And I’m self-centered enough to want that.

I also wonder about what I read in reviews. In this production Faust, after making that deal with the devil, still gets to ascend with Marguerite at the end. Hmm. Sort of changes the whole idea, doesn’t it? I guess you can sell your soul to the devil and then not lose it after all. Who knew?

So now I move on to Bartok’s Concerto For Orchestra, where I will be playing third oboe and English horn. If I’m remembering it correctly from times past, it’s a fun work to play!


  1. And you wonder why I (and others) can’t get behind the Schumann Romances?

    If you can’t identify, at least you know how it feels! Exhausing, to make something beautiful that you feel should be beautiful . . . but don’t feel it is. Give me any Schumann, I feel the same way.

    Love the Bartok so much, please post a reminder of when it is happening!

  2. Having an opinion doesn’t mean that you are self-centered, Patty. 🙂

    It’s just something that each of us has.

  3. Glad to hear the confession. The piece is godawful, and it’s on a short list of operas I never want to see again in my lifetime. For some, it’s a guilty pleasure, and good for them for finding something to enjoy, but for the rest of us, please pack it away and leave it in mothballs where it belongs. Give me Boito’s “Mefistofole” instead any day of the week.

  4. I will never understand why people don’t like the Schumann Romances, Sara! So sorry! 🙂 But my husband doesn’t understand why I hate dark chocolate, so there’s that.

  5. Well, it wasn’t the opinion that I thought was making me self-centered, Cameron. It was wanting music that fed my soul! 🙂

  6. The love of Gounod will remain a myster to me, sfmike. Truly.

  7. Er, I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t heard “Faust” in its entirety. I’m possibly also in the minority in this respect. Must make amends soon and form an opinion one way or the other.

  8. patti with an i

    I’m not entirely sure whether your objection to Faust’s ascent at the end is theological, or because that’s not what Gounod and his librettist had in mind, or because that’s not the way the original Goethe goes. Assuming the first, though, correct me if I’m wrong (I’m just a nice Jewish girl and I’m sure it’s a bit more complex than this), but I had the impression that for most Christian denominations, there is no sin from which there is no possibility of redemption if there is true repentance, so maybe the director was coming at it from that point of view?

    As for the music, I’m with you there. A couple of good moments, but basically it’s a “meh.”

  9. I’m not coming at it from my faith, patti with an i, but just from the story … and maybe I’m wrong. I guess I need to read it. I’d just never seen it done this way before. But then I didn’t see it this time either! I can’t see anything from my seat.

    But really, it was about the music. I just don’t like it.

  10. You aren’t missing anything much, Alan! 🙂