“Bellatrix” (Act I - Scene I) starts calmly, with a delicate acoustic guitar arpeggio. The curtain slowly opens revealing Faust kneeling, turned towards a star called Bellatrix, in the constellation Orion. The operatic voice of Mauro Ghilardini soars towards the star drawing a beautiful, melodic lay prayer to the light of knowledge... “You still shine / Where the grey sky embraces my pain / You still shine / Dry the cry with your tepid warmth...”. Then the heartfelt notes of an evocative electric guitar solo lead to the next scene...
On the next scene Faust approaches the castle. “Il castello” (The Castle - Act I - Scene III) begins with a frenzied rhythm and you can imagine Faust running towards the castle. Then the rhythm calms down... “Cold is the evening / That dark cloud is now gone / Sounds of stones and thorns make endlessly dream / Beyond the wind...”. Faust has to face his doubts and his fears. He decides to interrogate what’s left of his soul and his fears reply while an electric guitar solo leads the dance of anguish. Bellatrix still shines in the sky and lightens the way giving Faust new energies, pushing him beyond the wind, over the fears, closer and closer to the castle.
"Faust" (Act II – Scene I) is a long, complex track featuring sudden changes in rhythm and atmosphere. Faust is inside the castle and begins to sing ecstatically in German some verses by Goethe... “Waldung, sie schwankt heran...”. Well, the same verses inspired also, among others, Gustav Mahler for the second part of his Symphony n. 8 and Robert Schumann. Anyway here the result is quite different and the fight between good and evil is expressed with all the energy of a rock band and a strong theatrical emphasis in the vocal parts. Mephistopheles claims Faust’s soul but Faust repents and is helped by the character of Pater Ecstaticus and by an army of angels. The battle between angels and demons rages on and in the end the angels prevail, helped by the Virgin Mary, Mater Gloriosa. The piece ends with Faust singing in English some verses taken from the Sonnet n. 39 by William Shakespeare... “Oh how thy worth with manners may I sing / When thou art all the better part of me? / What can mine own praise to mine own self bring and what is ’t but mine own when I praise thee? / Even for this, let us divided live / And our dead love lose name of single one / That by this separation I may give / That due to thee which thou deservest alone...".
The next track, “La neve” (Act II – Scene II), opens with a short electric guitar solo à
la Santana, then from an acoustic guitar pattern the voice of Faust delicately soars. The battle is over and Faust goes out from the castle. Now he is surrounded by the snow that here is a metaphor for the troubles of life. Faust is full of regrets and misses an old love... “If I saw her open in flowers / Perhaps I’d flee from my agonies / I’m searching for the dawn...”. The character of Pater Ecstaticus appears again to comfort him and a vocal duet follows drawing a melancholic atmosphere. Pater Ecstaticus is moved and he melts in the air. After a while he comes back with Faust’s sweetheart, Margherita, then he quits leaving the two lovers alone. A romantic duet between Faust and Margherita follows and the stars of life shine again for them... “You shine on me, since I was a child we whispered in the evening... I live in you... Yes, you live in me... Life starts now... It still shines...”.
“Finale (Ogni viaggio) (Finale - Each travel) concludes the opera. The narrator comes back on stage to tell us that every story is like a journey, with its taverns, tears and mists hanging on a pond... And a delicate music that accompanies us and solitary shines in our night. Now we are ready to begin now a new journey...
Minstrel: Faust (2000). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: As powerful as this music is there is always a good balance of light and heavy, and no musician ever gets carried away or selfish. For an independent project the quality of the composition and production are truly top notch... (read the complete review HERE)
Read the interview with the band at progarchives. Click HERE