One of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s largest and most ambitious productions of the year will be performed in Wellington and Auckland in August.

French composer, Hector Berlioz’s lavish The Damnation of Faust: Concert Opera boasts four internationally-renowned singers and the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus, alongside the NZSO, under the baton of Music Director, Edo de Waart.

Inspired by Goethe’s play Faust about a world-weary scholar tempted by the devil, Berlioz’s dramatic The Damnation of Faust is one of his most lauded works.

It has been performed many times in concert and fully staged versions, including a 2011 English National Opera production directed by film-maker, Terry Gilliam.


For the NZSO production, celebrated American bass-baritone Eric Owens, will play Méphistophélès. He has performed with many of the worlds’ top orchestras and opera companies. He’s at home in a wide variety of classical repertoire from Beethoven to Wagner, as well as contemporary opera including the world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic. The recording, featuring Owens, won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.

Russian mezzo-soprano, Alisa Kolosova, plays Marguerite, who Faust falls in love with. Kolosova has performed to great acclaim in many of the world’s most prestigious theatres, including the Opéra National de Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, Wiener Staatsoper, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. She has also performed at venues including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Kennedy Centre and Carnegie Hall. 

Tenor, Andrew Staples, who plays Faust, is considered one of the most versatile British singers, and famed for his work as a director and photographer. He’s performed with many of the world’s top orchestras and conductors, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Sir Simon Rattle; the London Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Harding and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Australian bass, James Clayton, who plays the student Brander, has been lauded by audiences and reviewers for his performances in the opera houses and concert halls of Australia and New Zealand. His recent roles have included Escamillo in New Zealand Opera’s 2017 production of Carmen.

The Damnation of Faust is the first concert opera Maestro de Waart will conduct for the NZSO. “I did it a long time ago in San Francisco and I’m very happy to revisit it. It’s a great composition and a story we all know,” he says.

See the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Damnation of Faust in Wellington at the Michael Fowler Centre, Friday 25 August, or in Auckland at the Auckland Town Hall, Sunday 27 August. For tickets and more info, head over to