René Pape Reprises His Mephistopheles in Met's Faust
Few singers bring Méphistophélès to life like bass René Pape, who reprises his portrayal of the charming devil at the Metropolitan Opera in a November 29-January 19 run of Gounod's Faust, staged by Des McAnuff. Pape launched his season in the highly esteemed all-star David McVicar production of Faust at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The glowing reviews included this from the UK's Daily Telegraph: "René Pape was simply magnificent as Méphistophélès, his vocal power, histrionic authority and sly wit putting him in the Chaliapin league." During the Met run, to celebrate his internationally lauded new Deutsche Grammophon release, Wagner, Pape will meet his New York fans at 3 pm on December 9, when he signs CDs at the Met Opera Shop. The following day, opera lovers worldwide can revel in Pape's devilish portrayal of Méphistophélès when Faust is beamed to cinemas worldwide as part of the ever-popular Met in HD series.
In the Met’s Faust, under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Pape shares the stage with Marina Poplavskaya (Marguerite), Russell Braun (Valentin) and Jonas Kaufmann (Faust). Pape made his Met role debut as Méphistophélès in 2005, which led Anthony Tommasini to declare in the New York Times that the bass "already owns the role. His singing is robust, incisive and chilling." In the Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson wrote: "René Pape – handsome, suave-toned and full of high spirits and dangerous undercurrents – is a Méphistophélès that anyone would follow right to hell.” Proving that he has only added to his sound and portrayal since his initial Met run, top UK critics singled out Pape at Covent Garden for praise earlier this season, with George Hall highlighting "the magnificence of the voice" (The Stage) and Fiona Maddocks pointing to his "imperious charm" (The Observer). Opera Brittania enthused in detail: "When it comes to ideal casting you probably can’t get much better than René Pape as Méphistophélès … Pape’s Wagnerian instrument has a luscious 'black' timbre and is perfectly smooth and even throughout the range, possessing the heft and authority required to really make an impact in this vital role… His Act III incantation 'O nuit, étends sur eux ton ombre!' was sung with such noble majesty that he could have been Wotan saluting Valhalla."