I’ve been writing this What is Opera? blog for A Faustian Pack at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. As part of Criticism Now, a Cultural Institute project at Kings College London, I’ve watched Gounod’s Faust and two modern operas on Faustian themes – Luke Bedford’s brilliant and unsettling Through His Teeth, Matthew Herbert’s sonically weird and wonderful The Crackle – from first rehearsal to first night. I thought I’d finished but can’t resist this last bit of audience reaction, which sums up the disorientating effect of Matthew Herbert’s project: approaching the story of Mephistopheles in relation to Faust – and to all of us – through his unique style of sound electronics.
I wrote this opera blog from January to April 2014 as Resident Writer at Covent Garden Opera House, watching three operas on Faustian themes from first rehearsal to first performance. I’m afraid it runs backwards here. If you want to read from the beginning, go down to #1 and scroll upwards.
I: “There’s a really strange noise coming from the downstage left speaker.”
N: “Yeah – it’s coming from the downstage right one too.”
R: “I think that might be deliberate.”
I: “It’s deliberate?”
R: “Yeah, that’s part of the sound.”
I: “It sounds like someone is killing Facebook.”