Rehearsals are well underway for Bath Opera’s new production of Gounod’s Faust. But who would want to play the demonic Mephistopheles…? The answer is John DesLauriers.
Let’s find out more…
Tell us a bit yourself and your training as an opera singer…
I trained in musical theatre and voice at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music with further graduate studies in vocal performance at the Manhattan School of Music. I also trained as an actor with William Esper and Uta Hagen in Manhattan.
What is special about Bath Opera for you?
I utterly respect the passion this company has in keeping this art form alive! It is very important to have companies such as Bath Opera healthy and moving forward. This is where many people have their first contact with opera. It’s up to us to pique their interest and to make them want to come back for more!
What lead roles have you sung before and particularly enjoyed?
Basses so rarely have the opportunity to do the “heavy lifting” in a show. That usually is the job of the tenor and soprano. So, I have a feeling Mephistopheles is going to be quite an event for my singing life.
However, I so love singing Mozart. I think Sarastro in the Magic Flute is my favourite role (pictured). Though this is soon to change.
What attracts you to this role as Mephistopheles in Faust?
As a young lad, Faust was the very first opera that I saw on stage at the New York City Opera. There was a young Samuel Ramey onstage singing his heart out as the evil one. I just sat there as a cheeky 13 year old thinking… “oh, I can do that!”. So, it took a few extra years longer than I expected, but here I am!
Musically this role is very challenging because it does require the singer to have a very wide-ranging voice. It also presents a great opportunity for many great theatrical moments. This truly is a dream role for a bass. I am ecstatic to be able to finally have my turn at it!
What do you expect to be the highlights of this opera?
The visuals of Dave’s direction are going to be quite interesting. I think the audience is in for quite a treat. Also, the music is absolutely sumptuous – let alone the over-the-top drama. What more could you ask for from an opera!
Bath Opera: Faust
20 – 22 February 2020
Faust: Robert Felstead
Mephistopheles: John DesLauriers
Marguerite: Hannah Drury
Valentin: Rick Fitzsimmons
Siebel: Harriet Kirk
Wagner: Edward Harper
Marthe: Gill Clark
Musical Director: Rupert Drury
Stage Director: Dave Key-Pugh