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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 15:40 GMT
Hard rock makes Faustian bargain
Faust - Metal Opera
Faust appeared suitably infernal for a heavy metal adaptation
Norwegians have fused classical opera with heavy metal to tell the tragic tale of Faust, in what musical purists might call a new pact with the devil.

The town of Kristiansund is staging the new interpretation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's story of a doctor who sold his soul to the devil.

Faust - Metal Opera unites 15 musicians from the town's opera with a local heavy metal band called Pica Fierce.

Faust also inspired a 19th-Century opera by Charles Francois Gounod.

Olav Gritnes, the 65-year-old former director of the Kristiansund Opera, launched the Norwegian project, which Pica Fierce's lead singer Oeystein Haltbakk described as "crazy".

"I was surprised. He is an old man and likes heavy metal," Mr Haltbakk told the BBC.

Rehearsing with earplugs

Mr Gritnes said he had been inspired by the Italian group Rhapsody, which mixed heavy metal with classical music.

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The work took two years, resulting in a show drastically different from Gounod's 1859 opera. Mr Haltbakk says 90% of the music in the new version of Faust was composed by Pica Fierce.

It took some time for the classical musicians to get used to the new sound.

"At the first rehearsals they used earplugs," Mr Haltbakk says.

The authors of Faust - Metal Opera added modern touches to the old story. For example, Faust's beloved Margerethe is a heroin addict.

Other characters participate in scenes of sex, rape and violence, the AFP news agency reports.




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