Charles Gounod Faust opera to libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. Directed 2015 by Stefano Poda at the Teatro Regio di Torino. Stars Charles Castronovo (Faust), Ildar Abdrazakov (Méphistophélès), Irina Lungu (Marguerite), Vasilij Ladjuk (Valentin), Samantha Korbey (Marthe), Ketevan Kemoklidze (Siebel), and Paolo Maria Orecchia (Wagner). Gianandrea Noseda conducts the Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Torino (Chorus Master Claudio Fenoglio). Set, costume, and lighting designs by Stefano Poda; chororeography by Stefano Poda; assistant stage direction by Paolo Giani Cei; technical direction by Saverio Santoliquido. Directed for TV by Tiziano Mancini. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B

Stefano Poda, one of the most distinctive opera directors, has been involved in some 100 productions including at least 15 in his “unity style” in which he designs and directs everything that happens on the stage. His unity productions typically involve monumental (often multi-level) surreal modern sets that occupy the entire stage area and are decorated with elaborate designs, giant unique stage props and structures, and grand coordinated color schemes (often white, black, and red) that undergird the sets and extend to his unique costumes —- all supported by unusual dramatic lighting. The designs usually incorporate modern themes blended with classical motifs. He tends to put massive choral forces on the stage in identical costumes. Finally, he adds specially trained dance forces that often appear as close to naked as possible. Poda directs the movements of the dancers in a manner that most choreographers would probable call pageantry or gymnastics.

So what does this Poda style look like? Here are a few Faust screenshots from Poda’s excellent website:

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Michael Cookson, writing for musicweb-international.com in 2016 generally praises all aspects of this production and states, "Unless one is steadfastly loyal to a traditionally staged Faust this imaginative and insightful Stefano Poda production at Teatro Regio Turino makes spectacular entertainment." Eduardo Pelligra agrees in a June 2015 review published by bachtract.com and concludes with the comment that "lovers of aesthetic and symbolic productions should not miss [this version of Faust].”

Below are several YouTube clips from this title. Based on the information we give you here and other impressions we have about Poda’s work, we give this a provisional grade of B. We would cheerfully adjust this grade if others can give us good information why we should do so.