Live from The Royal Opera House, Covent GardenFaust
Live from The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Gounod’s Faust (1859) was one of the world’s most popular operas from the 1860s to World War II, and remains a core repertory work. The story, adapted by Gounod’s librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré’s play Faust et Marguerite, is based on Part I of Goethe’s epic poem Faust, which was a major inspiration for many composers during the 19th century and beyond. Gounod added a ballet to Act V when Faust received its first Paris Opéra staging in 1869.
Disillusioned with life, the aged philosopher Faust calls upon Satan to help him. The devil Méphistophélès appears and strikes a bargain with the philosopher: he will give him youth and the love of the beautiful Marguerite, if Faust will hand over his soul. Faust agrees, and Méphistophélès arranges matters so that Marguerite loses interest in her suitor Siébel and becomes infatuated with Faust.
Faust initially seems to love Marguerite in return, but soon abandons her. Her brother Valentin returns from the war and is furious to find his sister pregnant.
Will Faust repent his destructive actions, and can his soul, and Marguerite’s, be saved?