|The Lyric's new Faust uses a dramatic set design by renowned sculptor John Frame (Photo courtesy of Cory Weaver)|
Given our national tendency to embrace the incredible, and entertain the possibility of almost any conceivable scenario, no matter how fantastic, it is perhaps surprising there is not widespread speculation that Donald Trump has sold his soul to the devil. That would solve the mystery of how a third-rate Manhattan con artist, laughingstock and poster boy for glittery 1980s venality could become, in short order, a best-selling author, television star and president of the United States.
Plus, it would explain his notable lack of a soul.
Perhaps the entire idea of signing away your immortal spirit to Satan has lost popular culture currency, a regrettable development I am happy to try to correct, in my own modest way, on Tuesday, March 6, by bringing 100 readers to the Civic Opera House see one of my favorite operas, “Faust,” by Charles Gounod, performed by Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The story, in case you are unfamiliar, is a legendary tale told most famously by Goethe.
Goethe’s original version begins with shades of Job: Satan makes a bet with God that he can corrupt his favorite human. The curtain goes up on Gonound’s opera with the philosopher in despair. The Devil offers him youth and love and — spoiler alert — Faust signs the bargain.
The plot, however, the duels and dances, is not the main reason I like “Faust.” Rather it is what is always my first consideration in opera: the music, which in”Faust” whirls in sinister menace and races with hell-bound drive.
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