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Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, September 2019

Ville Matvejeff, who is principal guest conductor and music advisor for the Rijeka National Opera House, knows the acoustics and the orchestra inside out which is an excellent basis for a good performance. He conducts a stringent and rhythmically alert performance…

I was eagerly looking forward to hearing Marjukka Tepponen, whom I heard as a wonderful Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi in Helsinki some years ago. …She shows her mettle with lovely restrained singing in the Roi de Thulé aria (CD 2 tr. 6) with the beautiful voice conjuring up a sense of vulnerability. Very touching!

This newcomer doesn’t oust any of those but can proudly be added to the list and I’m convinced that I will return to it with confidence, most of all for Marjukka Tepponen’s lovely Marguerite but also for the overall excellence. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2019

One of the most popular operas in the repertoire makes its debut in the Naxos catalogue, and comes from a production staged in the Croatia’s national opera. The story, in brief, finds Faust seeking sensual gratification is visited by Mephistopheles who offers to grant his wish in return for Faust’s services and conjures up a vision of the gorgeous Marguerite who will grant him his pleasures. From therein Faust is taken into a world were they meet her brother, Valentin, and he too falls into Mephistopheles clutches. So the story proceeds with Marguerite having Faust’s child, and finding out who has seduced his sister Valentin challenges Faust to a dual but is killed. Having been imprisoned for infanticide Marguerite is imprisoned. The story ends with Faust looking on with despair as her soul rises to heaven. The present Croation performance is almost a showcase for the Italian bass, Carlo Colombara, in the role of Mephistopheles. He totally avoids that parody of the ‘devil’, but his power and ill-intent is portrayed by the sinister quality. The Finnish soprano, Marjukka Tepponen, is equally not the type-cast Marguerite, sounding more a young and fragile Mimi, her Chanson du Roi de Thule a mix of charm and disbelief but is rather stressed in the final scene. Aljaz Farasin is an fresh voiced Faust creating an thurustful character both in vocal production and his seemigly bold presence to stand up to devil. Among the supporting cast, Diana Haller’s Siebel is pert in voice and presence with Lucio Gallo a forceful Valentin. Never previously hearing the Croation orchestra and chorus, I was delighted with their performance, with a conductor Ville Matvejeff who pushes tempos forward with urgency. Recorded in 2016 in the opera house, there is a real feel of a ‘live’ performance. It is sung in French, the libretto and English translation comes on Naxos website. Most welcome in an uncrowded recorded catalogue. © 2019 David’s Review Corner



Hugo Shirley
Gramophone

Ville Matvejeff conducts fluently and is especially effective in the more lyrical passages.

Diana Haller is a charming Siébel, whose ‘Si le bonheur’ is a highlight. Marjukka Tepponen makes a youthful and moving Marguerite; and it’s largely thanks to her, and to Matvejeff finding his feet in the second half, that the performance proves dramatically rewarding—we’ve by no means got an outstanding night at the opera here… © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





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