Benjamin Bernheim makes his American debut as the titular Faust, showcasing an expressive and powerful voice that manages to be both clear and silky smooth while remaining utterly French.
Stage and Cinema
The role of Faust is presented by the extraordinary gifted young French tenor Benjamin Bernheim, for whom this role became an American debut. His brilliant presentation of Faust impresses with the first sounds of his tender and strong voice. Aria “Salut o mon dernier matin” in Act 1 demonstrates all the dramatism and lyricism of Bernheim’s voice, while aria “Quel trouble inconnu me penêtre” in Act 3 shows not only the brilliance of his voice, but also its wide diapason, especially at the end of this aria where Bernheim easily and masterfully takes long and really high notes. The Chicago audience already fell in love with this acclaimed tenor who is a noticeable figure in the European opera world. Now, he is a well-recognized singer in the United States as well.
20 Mar 2018 | Schmopera
Lyric Opera of Chicago is currently wrapping up its 2017/18 mainstage opera season with an innovative new production of Gounod’s Faust under the direction of Kevin Newbury and maestro Emmanuel Villaume.
I recently had the pleasure to sit down for a conversation with the production’s three leads: soprano Ailyn Pérez, tenor Benjamin Bernheim, and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn. Van Horn is something of a house favorite, having appeared in fifteen previous productions since 2004. For Pérez, a Chicagoland native, this is a thrilling house debut; and for Bernheim, not only a house debut but his American debut. Though this is the first time they are working together, they’ve developed an easy rapport and a deep mutual respect. Lots of laughter punctuated our shop talk and often the most memorable moments occurred during the singers’ natural repartee. Below is a lightly-edited collection of answers to some of my questions, which I asked over the course of an hour-long conversation. Read on for a bit of insight into these three singers’ lives and work.
In Kevin Newbury’s absorbing new production that was filled with eccentricities, Bernheim was mesmerizing. He gave an eloquent performance, displaying a lyrical vocal instrument of great beauty.Bernheim’s supremely beautiful singing of that iconic aria brought forth a sustained ovation from the Chicago audience, whose approval was obviously shared by Maestro Emmanuel Villaume, who applauded Bernheim at length from the conductor’s podium with his hands raised overhead.
Opera War Horses
For Benjamin Bernheim, the French tenor making his American debut, this choice highlights his luxurious lyricism as well as heroic vocal qualities in the guise of naïveté and rejuvenation.
13 Mar 2018 | Opera Sense
French tenor Benjamin Bernheim will soon be making his U.S. debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago, singing the title role in Gounod’s Faust. I am thrilled that Benjamin was willing to take some time to talk to me about the new production, his take on the Faust legend, and his love of opera.
You will soon be making your U.S. debut on one of the great stages of the country. Does that add any pressure?
The history of this house is legendary and singing this title role after many great tenors like Jussi Bjoerling, Neil Schicoff and Piotr Beczala is a great honor that the director of the Chicago Lyric is giving me.
Tell me about your interpretation of the Faust legend. The work inspires interesting questions, such as what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to get something you desire. Have you tapped into anything from your past that helps you connect with the character on the page?
In his American debut, French tenor Benjamin Bernheim scored an enormous success. His meltingly beautiful lyric tenor poured forth golden tone, and he was a master of dynamics and vocal color. He also evinced some real power for his climatic moments, and sang throughout with Gallic elegance and graceful phrasing.
The voices in the large cast are excellent…Rather than a scholar, this production’s Faust (French tenor Benjamin Bernheim, whose voice is full of emotional heat) is portrayed as an aging artist…
French tenor Benjamin Bernheim makes a glorious American debut as Faust, projecting plenty of ardor as the dashing title antihero.
Scott C. Morgan
Bernheim’s big moment in his “Salut, demeure chaste et pure” in Act three featured the elegant, legato phrasing that has made him as one of the world’s rising singers. Before that, his declaration of love in Act two of “O belle enfant, je t’aime” was so powerful that it’s possible it shook the opera house.