Luca Pisaroni confesses, semi-solemnly — that as an adolescent in Italy he was unpopular. "I was the only one who liked opera." Raised on a diet of his grandfather's opera collection, he says, he knew early on that was the art form for him.
The bass-baritone who speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian and says "I survive:" in German, will be making his role debut as Mephistopheles in this month's Houston Grand Opera production of Faust.
As the eternal story goes, aging and disappointed in life, Faust sells his soul to the devil – Mephistopheles – in return for youth and the chance to gain the affections of a beautiful young woman.
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The deal, of course, goes bad long before he is dragged away to hell, but the opera — Gounod’s adaptation of Goethe’s play — has all the right parts: an arresting story and beautiful music.
“It’s the story of us, human beings. We are on a quest for our meaning on Earth. Which direction are we going? What can we do?” says Pisaroni.
Houston favorite Ana Maria Martinez sings the role of Marguerite, who falls in love with Faust thanks to the jewels he gives her. Tenor Michael Fabiano (winner of both the Richard Tucker and Beverly Sills artist award in the same year) is Faust and Pisaroni says their scene in the first act “is one of the best ever written for a tenor and a bass.”
There are only five performances scheduled for October 28 through November 11 and tickets are going fast. 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturday and Tuesday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. Sung in French with English projections. $15-$354.