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06. December 2014

Faust

Opera by Charles Gounod



    Sung in French with German surtitles
    3:15 h | including 1 interval
    • Synopsis

      ACT ONE
      Lonely, old and frail, Faust looks back at his life. Realizing he has achieved nothing, he resolves to put his senseless life to an end. Méphistophélès promises to fulfil his every wish, if upon Faust’s death, he may lay claim to his soul. Faust’s only wish is to be young again, to love and be loved. After Méphistophélès tempts him with a vision of a young woman, Faust agrees to the deal. He becomes young again.
      Méphistophélès shows Faust the richness of life at a town fair. There are young ladies, older women, citizens, students and soldiers, who have to go off to war. The soldier Valentin tearfully bids his sister Marguerite goodbye and asks young Siébel to take care of her in his absence. As the festivities climax into a frenetic waltz, Faust – enamoured with Marguerite – tries to talk to her, but she brushes him off.

      ACT II
      Siébel picks flowers for Marguerite. Faust praises her innocence and the idyll in which she grew up. Meanwhile, Méphistophélès arrives with a box of jewels. He is sure that Marguerite will prefer the treasure over Siébel’s flowers. Everyone pays tribute to the Dance of the Golden Calf. This will allow Mephistopheles to gain power over Marguerite.
      Marguerite is flustered. She can’t stop thinking about her encounter with Faust. She tries to calm down by singing to herself. Suddenly she discovers the jewels and can’t resist trying them on. Her neighbour Frau Marthe catches her by surprise. Méphistophélès has taken on her form to provide Faust a chance to approach Marguerite. They hesitantly admit their love for one another. Marguerite begs Faust to leave her until tomorrow. Faust wants to respect her wish, but Méphistophélès drives him back into Marguerite’s arms.

      ACT III
      Abandoned by Faust and now pregnant, Marguerite is shunned by those around her. Siébel is the only one who offers to help, but she turns him down, seeking forgiveness in prayer instead. Haunted by Méphistophélès’ demonic voice, she cannot find solace. She will kill her baby.
      The soldiers return from the war. Siébel cannot prevent Valentin from discovering Marguerite’s disgrace. Méphistophélès makes fun of Faust and sings a scornful serenade below Marguerite’s window. Enraged, Valentin challenges Faust to a duel and is mortally wounded. As he dies, he curses his sister.

      ACT IV
      Méphistophélès shows Faust the most beautiful temptresses of all times. While gazing at them, Faust discovers Marguerite sentenced to death for murdering her child. He is determined to save her.
      Marguerite, locked up in the dungeon, awaits her execution. Faust arrives with Mephistopheles to set her free. Though overcome with memory of her love, she refuses to flee. She entrusts her soul to the angels. Méphistophélès declares that judgment has been passed over her.
      Voices proclaim the resurrection of Christ.