In September 2013, San Francisco Opera staged a remarkable production of Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele. Regarded as one of the most impressive productions ever staged at the War Memorial Opera House, Mefistofele – from the Company’s archives – is being streamed online on May 9, in the first production of Opera is ON, the Company’s online initiative to connect with the community and its audiences worldwide.
Based on Goethe’s version of the Faust legend, Mefistofele has a libretto by the composer, and was the only opera that Boito completed. It premiered on March 5, 1868, at La Scala, Milan, under the baton of the composer, despite his apparent lack of experience and skill as a conductor.
This production stars Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov in his staged debut in the title role, Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas is the philosopher Faust who sells his soul to the devil, and American soprano Patricia Racette sings the roles of Margerita, the village girl who is the object of Faust’s desire, and Elena (Helen of Troy) when Mefistofele transports Faust back in time to Ancient Greece. Direction is by Robert Carsen, and former Music Director of SF Opera, Nicola Luisotti, leads an opera chorus of 90 singers and a children’s chorus of 30.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, San Francisco Opera’s production of Mefistofele streams free of charge on Opera is ON on Saturday, May 9, at 10.00 am Pacific. It will be available until 11.59 pm, the next day. No registration is necessary.
Information sourced from:
San Francisco Opera program notes