Randolph Fuller, a passionate opera fan and financial backer of Odyssey Opera, has graciously offered to stand in for Odyssey’s conductor Gil Rose, who had to cancel his Tuesday, October 9 appearance at the South End library due to a last-minute scheduling conflict. Rose emailed FOSEL to say Fuller would be “very entertaining,” and hopes to return himself at a later time.
On Tuesday, Fuller will focus on the 19th-century French composer Charles Gounod’s most famous opera, Faust, first performed at La Scala in 1862. When the Metropolitan Opera in New York City opened in 1883, Gounod’s Faust was its premier performance. This year is the composer’s 200th anniversary of his birth. Fuller has asked for a CD player to accompany his talk so the sound of opera will resound in the library’s community room on Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 PM.
Last October, Rose and Fuller discussed the 2017-18 Trial by Fire performances of Odyssey Opera, five operas by different composers, each focused on the life of Joan of Arc. Fuller, a longtime South End resident and local benefactor, gave an erudite talk about the history of opera in Boston, an art form he's been in love with since he was nine, when his parents took him to see Die Fledermaus at the Boston Opera House.
Odyssey’s 2018-19 season includes two of Gounod’s operas. The first, The Queen of Sheba, received a glowing write-up from Boston Classic Review; the next, The Doctor In Spite of Himself will be preformed at the Huntington Theatre on November 9 and 11. Odyssey's three spring 2019 operas are inspired by "the face that launched a thousand ships," Helen of Troy: Paris and Helen by Christoph Willibald Gluck (2/15 and 2/17); The Egyptian Helen by Richard Strauss (4/19); and The Beautiful Helen by Jacques Offenbach (6/14 and 6/16).
Fuller recommends the following readings on Faust: by Thomas Mann (Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn As Told by a Friend); Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust); and a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet (The Devil and Daniel Webster).