Role Debut and Japanese Debut
Rachel Willis-Sørensen begins her season with a role debut as Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust, as she also makes her highly anticipated debut in Japan. Part of the Royal Opera House tour, the story is loosely based on Goethe’s original work, this five-act tragedy digs deeply into the folly and consequence of man’s carnal nature. In short, an aging scholar sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a return to youth and love. Fausts’s corruption ends tragically for some and in eternal damnation for Faust himself. Vittorio Grigolo plays the scholar Faust; Ildebrando D’arcangelo masterfully represents the devil Mephistopheles; and Ms. Willis-Sørensen joins this powerful cast as Faust’s love interest Marguerite. In the role, Rachel moves seamlessly from innocence to madness as she expresses the complexity of human emotion. She at first delights, as Marguerite is charmed and somewhat feckless in the “Jewel Aria,” but soon evokes horror and sorrow as life spirals out of control and she pleads for her very soul. The brilliance of Maestro Antonio Pappano—the longest-serving music director in history—punctuates this performance with just the right nuance and tempo.