Featured Artists in 'Faust' In Houston Grand Opera's production of Faust, bass Samuel Ramey stars in the role of Mephistopheles, one of his specialties, with tenor William Burden in the title role and soprano Tamar Iveri as Marguerite.
NPR logo Featured Artists in 'Faust'

Featured Artists in 'Faust'

Samuel Ramey has made a specialty of playing operatic devils and villains, including Mephistopheles in Faust. Christian Steiner hide caption

toggle caption
Christian Steiner

Along with Gounod's Faust, William Burden has appeared in a number of other French operas, including Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande and Berlioz's Beatrice et Benedict. hide caption

toggle caption

Tamar Iveri has made a specialty of Verdi's operas, singing in Otello at La Scala, and Simon Boccanegra at Covent Garden. hide caption

toggle caption

Samuel Ramey

Bass (Mephistopheles)

Samuel Ramey has been one of the world's most acclaimed operatic basses for nearly 30 years. His dynamic stage presence has made him especially popular in the roles of devils and villains, including John Claggart in Britten's Billy Budd, the title role in Boito's Mefistofele and Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, as well as Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust.

Throughout his distinguished career, Ramey has also displayed remarkable versatility, performing the title roles of both Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, frequently as a double bill, as well as the title role in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Olin Blitch in Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, and the title role in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

Ramey has made more than 80 recordings, including complete operas, collections of arias, symphonic works and crossover albums. Those recordings have earned a number of major awards, including three Grammy Awards, Gran Prix du Disc Awards and "Best of the Year" citations from Stereo Review and Opera News.

A native of Colby, Kan., Ramey now makes his home in Chicago.

Tamar Iveri

Soprano (Marguerite)

Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri performed her first major role in Tblisi in 1998, singing Desdemona in Verdi's Otello. That same year, she won second prize at the Voce Verdiane competition in Bussetto, and in 1999 she won first prize at the Mozart Competition in Salzburg.

Iveri has since been acclaimed in a number of Verdi operas, including Don Carlo in Bonn, Simone Boccanegra with the German Opera in Berlin, and Otello in Venice. She made her Salzburg Festival debut as Fiordiligi in a new production of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, and in 2005 she made her first Metropolitan Opera appearance in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Iveri's career highlights include performances as Desdemona in Otello at Milan's La Scala, and as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Iveri's engagements also include further performances at both the Metropolitan and the Vienna State opera, and her debut at Munich's Bavarian State Opera in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

William Burden

Tenor (Faust)

William Burden has established himself in a wide range of roles in both North America and Europe. In the United States, he has appeared with companies including the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glimmerglass Opera and the New York City Opera. His European appearances include peformances with the Paris Opera, Munich's Bavarian State Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid and Milan's La Scala.

Burden's repertoire includes the title roles in Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande, Gounod's Romeo et Juiette, Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict, Bernstein's Candide and Handel's Acis and Galatea. Burden has also sung the roles of Nerone in Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, Aschenbach in Britten's Death in Venice, Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff and Nemorino in Donizetti's The Elixir of Love.