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World Book Day - the many stories of Faust

5 March 2020

On Thursday 5 March we mark World Book Day when reams of children around the country dress up as their favourite character from their chosen book and celebrate the joy of reading. And although we’re not sure many 5 year olds are delving into the world of Marlowe, Goethe or Benét (if they are, we’re very impressed.) Faust in its many forms  is embedded into our culture consciousness from The Simpsons to Bedazzled; it’s been the inspiration for ballets, films, plays and of course, opera.

An article summing up the story of Faust begins with, ‘Faust is bored and depressed’ if that isn’t just the most accessible statement known to mankind, we’re not sure what is. Based originally on German legend, his name comes from a Latin word meaning ‘lucky’ although he doesn’t really turn out to be all that fortunate - ending up in hell of all places. The story of a man who makes a deal with the devil; to sell his soul for worldly gain.

The sheer number of books based on Faust alone is quite impressive, the authors ranging from Marlowe, Goethe, Benét, Thomas Mann to Dr Mikhail Bulgakov - just to name a few. In the more recent years, Stephen King’s Christine and Terry Pratchett’s Eric are the latest works to come from the legendary tale. Although the original saga was a whopping 88,567 words in total, with an average reading time of eight hours and three minutes, our opera is less than half of that. So, if you want to pretend you’ve read the hefty classic, known to be one of the world’s longest poems, come and see this stylish production which we perform for the first time; a much more exhilarating way to get to grips with the plot – sure to be devilish fun.

Whether you are dressing a child up as Willy Wonka or even fancy twirling into your office this World Book Day as the Gruffalo, let us all celebrate the joy of reading, getting lost in a story and escaping to another world. Come and watch Faust make a deal with the devil in our fiery, new production next Spring. And while that may not be suitable for children, our Explore Opera day on 14 June certainly is. See you there (Gruffalo costume not required.)