Helga Davis, voice
Philippe Nahon, conductor
Ars Nova ensemble instrumental (7 musicians)
Robert Wilson, narrator in the dark (recorded)
filmed shadows, controluce teatro d’ombre
Alone, his back to the audience, and surrounded by his own reflection through a large rectangular mirror (the puppet theater where young Goethe saw Faust for the first time? The box – jail of our egotistical and technological studio?) Faust – Helga Davis – addresses his image to unravel his recollections (childhood, love, solipsism, power, money, etc.) along with his illusions, in search for a single word: happiness.
In the opera, Faust uses his seclusion voice like a scalpel – in every angle and inflection – to cut the roots of his reflected “narcissuses”. He succeeds in his endeavor. His secular redemption and newfound life only appear at the end in true Faustian style, as they coincide with a simple action: turning off the microphone – this auto-amplification device – and watching the darkness, and perhaps the others, beyond the stage boundaries.
In the impromptu technological void, in the fullness of inaudible frequencies, in what we call silence... he remains listening... he is not alone anymore. A sort of secular and necessary redemption, indicated by Goethe himself, in a famed Wilhelm Meister excerpt:
“[…] but when his education has proceeded to a certain pitch, it is advantageous for him that he learn to lose himself among a mass of men, that he learn to live for the sake of others, and to forget himself in an activity prescribed by duty. It is then that he first becomes acquainted with himself”.
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