In LNSO’s 90th anniversary autumn, we are pleased to once again perform together with Vassily Sinaisky, the orchestra’s music director from 1975 to 1987.

The magnum opus of the concert is Hector Berlioz’s dramatic legend La damnation de Faust.

At the age of 25, Berlioz read a French translation of Faust, Part One (part two had not been written yet), and swiftly wrote his Eight Scenes from Faust, which he later recalled from his list of works. However, a lot of the material was later included in the magnificent legend La damnation de Faust. Thorough work on the large-scale piece began around 1845, while the composer was visiting Vienna, Pest, Prague, Breslau and Brunswick on concert tour. Berlioz wrote a large part of the text himself, and the creative process took place in post coaches, trains, steamboats, a pub in Passau, in Vienna and Pest. Berlioz completed the score in Paris, and it premiered in December, 1846. The Parisians’ reception was rather lukewarm.

In contrast with Goethe’s work, Berlioz’s approach was simpler: the hero Faust, a romantic ideal, is tempted by the devil and ends his life in hell, but Marguerite goes to heaven. Curiously, Berlioz’s legend opens in Hungary, but from act II onwards, it is transferred to Germany, the proper location.

Faust is the character who sings the most, and we are tremendously glad to have Pavel Černoch join us. The Czech tenor is very sought-after all over the world, and Latvian audiences love his vocal performance likewise. His Marguerite will be sung by Olesya Petrova from Saint Petersburg, the owner of a lush, opaque voice. In the role of Méphistophélès, Latvian National Opera and Ballet (LNOB) soloist Armands Siliņš. And finally, the piece is unimaginable without the ironic story of the kitchen rat’s tragic fate – student Brander will be sung by LNOB soloist Rihards Mačanovskis.

State Choir Latvija will also participate in the performance in the roles of peasants, churchgoers, pubgoers, gnomes, sylphs, students, soldiers, wisps, demons, and celestial spirits.

In Riga, many years ago, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust was conducted by Neeme Järvi and Vladimir Fedoseyev. After Latvia’s Restoration of Independence, we have also trodden the path of sinner Faust under the batons of Imants Resnis, Paul Mägi, Viesturs Gailis, Olari Elts, as well as Patrick Souillot in the festival Francijas pavasaris (The French Spring).

First, before Berlioz’s masterpiece, we will listen to Cantabile, a beautiful piece for strings by Pēteris Vasks who celebrated his 70th birthday in 2016. In 1979, the piece was one of the laureates in a competition of orchestral works dedicated to the 100th birthday of Latvian composer Alfrēds Kalniņš. Later, Cantabile was to become a defining trademark of Vasks’s creative work – a message conveyed simply and powerfully.

28 Oct

19.00 / Friday / Riga, The Great Guild


Pavel Cernoch - tenor

Olesya Petrova - mezzo–soprano

Armands Siliņš -

Rihards Mačanovskis - bass - baritone

Riga Cathedral Boys' Choir -

The State Choir "Latvija" -


Vassily 1Sinaisky


  • Pēteris VASKS Cantabile
  • Hector BERLIOZ La Damnation de Faust

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