Pure hell in Lisbon. Méphistophélès was gladhanding post-performance backstage with Wagner. I came across him, top hat, white pancake makeup, black arching eyebrows and all, his arm around an elderly lady fan’s shoulder, marking his moniker on a contract. Another soul destined for Hades? Had he not learnt that the Faust contract thing had just gone, um, …badly? Rubén Amoretti was only signing an autograph. The Swiss bass was still on an adrenalin high, as well he might have been after singing a vital Méphistophélès in one of the most enthralling productions of Gounod’s Faust I have ever seen. The lady escaped, no more youthful than before. Amoretti grabbed Reaction’s opera critic with enthusiasm. I was wary. “No, I’m not soul-selling today.” “Ha! Ha! Let me introduce you to Wagner”. One of the quirks of all versions of Faust is a cameo appearance of the great composer.
Holding back the tide of hens and stags is a mug’s game
Many beautiful cities have tried and failed to tame the rowdy crowds.