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  • Writer's pictureDanny Joyce | Editor

Spectacular new production of Charles Gounod’s FAUST to open at The Gaiety Theatre this October

Although premiered in 1859 in Paris, the opera Faust, by French composer, Charles Gounod, is a moral tale for all ages, described as one of the world’s most manipulative love stories. 

We know the dangers of ‘dealing with the Devil.’  We recognise that things ‘Faustian’ are sinister and suspicious; these are reckless, often immoral, acts, usually for present gain, with no regard for future cost or consequences.

A highlight of the upcoming Dublin Theatre Festival, Irish National Opera’s new production of Gounod’s Faust has four unmissable performances at The Gaiety Theatre, opening on Sunday 1st October, next.

Can good triumph over evil, does the devil get his dues, and is eternal damnation inevitable?

You don’t need to be a fan of opera or classical music to enjoy and appreciate this classic moral saga about the struggle between good and evil, INO artistic director, Fergus Sheil, says;

Gounod’s Faust has rousing and beautiful music, passionate performances, and is a powerful stage spectacle that never fails to move the audience, whether opera enthusiasts or newcomers!”   

Based on a Goethe play, Faust was Gounod’s fourth opera, and his greatest theatre success.

This trade with the Devil sees the ageing, discontented Faust sell his soul for another lifetime in which to live and love. Among its most famous moments are the Jewel Song sung by Marguerite, from Act III, and the powerful and moving Soldiers’ Chorus, which have remained audience favourites for over 160 years.


The production marks the Irish and European debut of the rapidly-rising, prize-winning young American tenor Duke Kim, ‘one of the most exciting young tenors’ (Washington Post). 

Also in the exceptional cast is Irish soprano Jennifer Davis as Marguerite, who rocketed to fame at The Royal Opera, London, in 2018, as Lohengrin’s beloved Elsa.  She was quickly hailed as ‘a dazzling star being born,’ by The Telegraph.  The Cahir-born soprano has gone on to triumph on many of the world’s greatest stages.

Award-winning US baritone Nicholas Brownlee makes his INO debut as Méphistophélès.  Praised by The New Yorker for his ‘handsome mahogany tone’ and by The New York Times as ‘charismatic and charming’, Dublin audiences will undoubtedly appreciate how the demon making the Devil’s bargain needs charisma!

An unusual addition to the stellar cast is actor Nick Dunning, better known for theatre, film and TV work such as The Tudors, the Iron Lady and Kill Ratio, as well as regular stage roles at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The Dalkey resident plays Faust as an old man in the INO production.

The Faust cast includes Wicklow-resident Hungarian baritone Gyula Nagy as Marguerite’s brother Valentin, and English baritone Mark Nathan as his friend Wagner.  

Two Irish mezzo-sopranos, Colette McGahon from Dundalk and Gemma Ní Bhriain from Dublin, take the roles of Marguerite’s guardian Marthe Schwerlein and her admirer Siébel, a young man whose genuine love contrasts sharply with the warped wishes of Faust and Méphistophélès.


One of the most popular and enduring operas in the French repertoire, this new INO production of Gounod’s Faust showcases world-class Irish and international singers, musicians and creatives in a mesmerising and memorable experience.  

The Irish National Opera Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by INO’s resident conductor Elaine Kelly, from Cork, who brings the musical power of Gounod’s touching work to life. 

Elaine Kelly is a discovery, tracing the musical lines with exactitude,” wrote the Los Angeles Times of her U.S. West Coast debut earlier this year.

Acclaimed director Jack Furness has won plaudits for works as diverse as Mozart and Leonard Bernstein.  He makes his INO debut in this powerful opera which shows a brilliant man turning to the dark side, compromising with evil.  

Furness points to “the social conscience of Gounod’s opera, with the composer showing great compassion for the people thrown off their path by Faust’s influence and power.”

The flesh and bones of that power are forcefully presented by Irish Times Irish Theatre Award-winning set and costume designer Francis O’Connor.

His most recent work for INO was a highly-praised Fidelio, described as ‘ingeniously staged’ by The Irish Times.

Jack Furness and Francis O’Connor create a powerful vision to convey the chasm between the two forceful male powerbrokers, and the unfortunate woman they have in their sights.

Sung in French with English surtitles, the performance has a running time of 3 hours and 20 minutes, including an interval after Act III.

The production at the Gaiety Theatre is part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, and opens on Sunday 1 October at 5.00pm, with three further performances at 7.00pm on Tuesday 3, Thursday 5 and Saturday 7 October.

Booking is at and tickets are priced from €15 to €85.

Slán go fóill.


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