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Charles Gounod, Faust, Atlanta Opera, March 2014
Atlanta Opera’s spring production of Faust at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre began in a promising way (seen March 11). It is difficult to overstate the remarkable improvement in the opera orchestra’s playing since Maestro Arthur Fagan joined ranks with the Atlanta Opera as music director. Even a season ago, this would have been a difficult opera for this company and this orchestra: the orchestral writing is highly exposed with solo lines throughout. It was apparent from the initial fortissimo note of the prelude that orchestrally things had changed for the better.

Stephanie Adrian, Opera News, June 2014

The Atlanta Opera has a real hit on its hands with Gounod’s Faust, which opened Saturday night. Musically, this could well be the company’s greatest achievement ever.…. the leader for the key musical decisions would surely have been Arthur Fagen, the company’s music director .... The orchestra, which has steadily improved since his appointment, has never sounded better [ ... ] the exposure drew attention to the ensemble’s impressive accuracy and to Fagen’s sensuous coloring and balance. And with Faust, the slower pace emphasized the work’s churchlike solemnity and grandeur.

James L. Paulk, ArtsAtl.com, March 10, 2014

Charles Gounod’s Faust could arguably be classified as the quintessential French grand opéra of the mid-19th century, and Atlanta Opera does an exceptionally fine job in upholding this claim. This is first evidenced by Arthur Fagan’s nearly flawless delivery from the pit, moving the tempo with genuine politesse respectable in honor of the composer’s wishes; tonality and orchestral coloring enriches an already mellifluous score.

Christie Grimstad, concertonet.com, April 2014



Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel, Indiana, November 2013
The opera also has two prior acts of lush and luscious music that Humperdinck composed, music to which only a very capable orchestra can do full justice. In the IU Philharmonic, the production had that. And it had, in conductor Arthur Fagen, an authoritative leader with the intuitive feel for the scores romantic and dramatic essences, along with the capability to bring the best out of his musicians in the pit and those on stage. He managed to control, and hold to a minimum, the balance problems that can crop up when youthful voices encounter the operas orchestral line of sometimes Wagnerian dimensions.

Peter Jacobi, Heraldtimesonline.com, November 18, 2013

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