Aged and disillusioned, Faust contemplates his modest life, and feels nothing but regret. He accepts a deal with the Devil, Méphistophélès, to give his soul in exchange for youth, beauty and the wild pursuit of hedonistic pleasure.
Gounod’s Faust is a battle between good and evil, temptation, romance and betrayal. This lavish production from David McVicar for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, places the opera in the decadence of 1870’s Paris. Between the grandeur of cathedral towers and the dazzling lights of dance halls, Faust meets his fate driven by Gounod’s rich and beautiful music.
American tenor Patrick O’Halloran brings complexity and charm as Faust, Teddy Tahu Rhodes is a mesmerising Méphistophélès and Natalie Aroyan displays a captivating innocence as Marguerite.
29 Oct, 2015 - 7 Nov, 2015Watch Trailer
About the show
Act One – Faust’s Chamber.
Faust decides to die. Disillusioned by a life dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge he is now full of regret for wasted opportunities. When distracted by beautiful voices singing God’s praises, he curses God, and calls on the Devil. Méphistophélès appears. Faust asks him for a new life full of hedonistic pleasure and the glories of youth. Méphistophélès offers him everything he wants, in exchange for Faust’s soul. When Faust hesitates, the Devil conjures a vision of the beautiful Marguerite and Faust readily agrees to the pact.
Act Two – The Town Square.
The town is celebrating. Valentin is preparing to go to war, but is worried about leaving his sister Marguerite, and asks his friend Siébel to protect her. Méphistophélès, singing a wild blasphemous song, lecherously proposes a toast to Marguerite. Angered, Valentin draws his sword but as the sword shatters realises he is in the presence of the Devil. Faust arrives and joins the festivities with Méphistophélès. When Marguerite appears, Faust offers her his arm. She refuses him so charmingly that he is more entranced than ever.
Act Three – Marguerite’s Garden.
Later that night, Faust and Méphistophélès watch as Siébel leaves flowers at Marguerite’s door. Méphistophélès decides a better gift is needed and produces an ornate box of sparkling jewels. When Marguerite discovers the box she is entranced and Faust takes the opportunity to approach her. His seductive words lead to a stolen kiss until Marguerite panics and escapes into her house. Méphistophélès conjures up all the fragrance from the night flowers and Marguerite comes to her window. The headiness of the scent takes hold and she confesses to the night that she loves Faust. Faust calls out her name and enters her room. Méphistophélès is triumphant.
Act Four – First a church, then Marguerite’s home.
Marguerite is pregnant but Faust has now abandoned her. She prays for forgiveness, but faints in despair when she hears Méphistophélès voice telling her she is damned forever. When Valentin returns from war he is horrified at what has happened. Faust, feeling remorseful, returns to Marguerite’s home with Méphistophélès who mockingly sings a serenade provoking Valentin into a duel. With a little help from Méphistophélès, Faust fatally wounds Valentin, just as Marguerite arrives home. With his last breath Valentin curses her for eternity.
Act Five – Insane Asylum.
It’s ‘Walpurgis Night’ and a diabolic ballet is taking place. Faust sees a vision of Marguerite, imprisoned for the murder of her child and awaiting execution. Overwhelmed with pity, he goes to her cell with Méphistophélès. Faust pleads with her to escape with him, but she resists and calls for divine protection. As angelic voices proclaim her redemption, she dies.
CAST AND CREATIVE
Composer – Charles Gounod
Conductor – Brad Cohen
Director – David McVicar
Revival Director – Bruno Ravella
Set Designer – Charles Edwards
Costume Designer – Brigitte Reiffenstuel
Lighting Designer – Paule Constable
Choreographer – Michael Keegan-Dolan
Faust – Patrick O’Halloran
Méphistophélès – Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Marguerite – Natalie Aroyan
Valentin – Samuel Dundas
Wagner – Mark Alderson
Siébel – Fiona Campbell
Marthe – Roxane Hislop
West Australian Opera Chorus
West Australian Symphony Orchestra