[CANCELED]Stéphane Denève, the St. Louis Symphony musical director, considers Hector Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust
to be a desert-island performance, and it's small wonder. Berlioz's hybrid opera/cantata requires a massive orchestra, a full chorus and a small but vital selection of solo voices to bring the piece to life. Denève ups the ante by adding the St. Louis Children's Choirs to the St. Louis Symphony Chorus for a pair of performances of the infernal legend. Tenor Michael Spyres will sing the role of Faust, a despairing scholar who contemplates drinking poison to end his misery. At that moment Mephistopheles (bass John Relyea) appears and offers Faust youth, happiness and whatever else he desires, and the Beast will even throw in the beautiful Marguerite (soprano Isabel Leonard) at no extra charge. It's a bargain, but it seems like there should be a catch. Berlioz's Damnation
is darkly majestic, and the horripilating passage "Ride to the Abyss" is not soon forgotten. The Damnation of Faust
is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (March 13 and 14) at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; www.slso.org
). Tickets are $15 to $87.50.