Faust at West Bay Opera

Elizabeth Zharoff, as Marguerite
Elizabeth Zharoff, as Marguerite

Elizabeth Zharoff, in her first appearance with West Bay Opera, is beautiful and very appealing as the young and pure Marguerite, and stunningly powerful of voice. As Marguerite’s sad story unfolds, she becomes a wretched, pathetic broken rag doll, her madness spilling out over the stage. Brava.” – Mercury News

I’ve had the privilege of working with West Bay Opera for the past 5 weeks on a new production of Gounod’s Faust. Ragnar Conde directs, and Jose Luis Moscovich leads a fantastic (and very nice!) cast. Performances began last weekend at the Lucie Stern Theater in Palo Alto, and will continue this weekend. Tickets can be found at http://www.westbayopera.org.

Faust is one of my favorite operas. I love French opera in general, and Marguerite in particular is an intriguing character, because she goes through such a fast and dramatic change. No other character I’ve played needed to so much careful attention to the emotional progression. She begins totally innocent and vivacious, and then proceeds to fall in love, become pregnant, kill her baby, watch her brother die, and then finally go insane. Roles like Violetta and Lucia have a longer time on-stage to develop each of these states, whereas Marguerite evolves rapidly, with large time lapses between scenes. It is challenging- but ultimately inwardly gratifying- to follow her heart through this opera.

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