B efore I was asked to record the original version of Gounod’s opera I’d never been involved in a production of Faust. However, I have a longstanding relationship with Palazzetto Bru Zane having done many, many recordings of theirs including works by Joncières, Godard and Saint-Saëns. I believe in their remit of bringing back to life forgotten French operas, which for various reasons have lost favour, and putting this music down on disc for posterity. The works may not always be the greatest, but there are amazing chunks of music within them and you can only put a composer’s work into context if you have as much of it available to listen to as possible. Some of these operas have even gone on to have successful full-scale productions because of these recordings.

Andrew Foster-Williams. Photo © Paul Foster-Williams

I am in love with the sound of French. If I were asked to draw an illustration of the French language, I would draw a beautiful, delicate bouquet of flowers because it is perfumed, scented, delicate and nuanced. Other languages may be much purer, but there’s something dirty about French, something...

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