Opera in five acts by Charles Gounod Performed in French with German surtitles
Faust despairs of human imperfection. Only the voices and songs which filter into his room from outside prevent him from attempting to kill himself with poison. Invoking the Devil, he curses faith and science. Méphistophélès appears and in a vision creates an image of Marguerite. Faust falls in love with her immediately. Méphistophélès promises to fulfil his every yearning for youth and love in exchange for his soul. Act 2
Méphistophélès shows Faust the following scene: people are celebrating joyously. Only Valentin, Marguerite’s brother, is sad: he has received his orders to leave for war. He entrusts the care of his sister in his absence to his friends, Wagner and Siébel. Méphistophélès draws the attention of the crowd with demonic tricks and prophesies. Valentin considers he is ridiculing his sister and clashes with him. A dispute develops which seems to be influenced by fiendish ploys. The celebration continues with the sound of a waltz.
Faust succeeds in approaching Marguerite who refuses his advances but Méphistophélès assures him that his amorous ambitions will be successful. INTERVAL Act 3
Siébel is waiting for Marguerite. He too adores her and leaves her a bouquet of flowers as a sign of his love. Méphistophélès places a decorated box containing jewellery next to the flowers on behalf of Faust with the intention of breaking Marguerite’s resistance.
Marguerite is immediately dazzled by the jewellery. Her neighbour Marthe expresses her moral scruples about whether this is supposed to be a gift for her. Méphistophélès creates a diversion and succeeds in separating Marthe and Marguerite to allow Faust to approach his beloved unnoticed. He confesses his love to Marguerite, who despite her initial hesitation, returns his love – to the taunting mockery of Méphistophélès. INTERVAL Act 4
Marguerite is thinking about her lover who has abandoned her.
While she is giving birth, soldiers return from the war, including Marguerite’s brother Valentin who learns of her disgrace.
As Méphistophélès sings a mocking serenade to the abandoned Marguerite, Valentin appears to take revenge on Faust, his sister’s seducer. Méphistophélès helps Faust to kill Valentin who, with his dying breath, curses his sister. She kills her baby.
Marguerite looks to God for comfort and prays for forgiveness of her sins. Méphistophélès tries everything to squash her hope of spiritual succour. Act 5
Near death, Marguerite spends her last hours in a state of mental derangement.
Méphistophélès tells Faust to go to Marguerite and persuade her to escape. But she refuses to follow him and merely relives the happy times they spent together in the past. As Marguerite dies, a chorus of angels announce her salvation while Méphistophélès proclaims her damnation.