By Steve Fyffe
Concert pianist and Steinway Artist Alexandre Dossin performs legendary piano virtuoso Franz Liszt's paraphrase of the "Waltz from the Opera Faust" by the French composer Charles-François Gounod.
In this scene, the hero Faust goes to a grand ball to meet the beautiful young woman Marguerite, who the devil has used to tempt Faust into a bargain for his soul, for the first time.
The music “really brings the scene from the opera alive,” says Dossin, a professor of piano at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance.
“In the score, during the slow section when they start talking, Liszt puts in French the dialog between them...It’s fascinating.”
Dossin says he loves performing Liszt's interpretations of classic operas. “Every time I perform a paraphrase like this, and I perform in many cities with paraphrases from many operas, I always watch the opera, of course, and it’s fascinating to see what Liszt does.
“Sometimes the piano work becomes more exciting than the actual opera, because it’s so well written. Even though there are are no words and I am not singing, there are no lyrics, [Liszt] represents everything in a wonderful way…It transports me to the scene and at the same time it creates something new.”
A passionate admirer of Liszt, Dossin serves as vice president of the American Liszt Society and president of its Oregon Chapter.