Sung in French with Czech and English subtitles.
Premiere 16th December 2017, BVV
Relationships and God exist for those who believe!
Faust's life is near its end and the scientist is pursued by a feeling that he wasted his life. The mysterious Méphistophélès promises to return his youth to him and fulfil every wish for a "small" price - Faust's soul...
The most famous opera of the French composer Charles Gounod took the subject matter from the no less famous two-part play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, based on a German legend about a man who exchanged his soul with the devil for knowledge and power. The librettists, Barbier and Carré, did not use Goethe’s entire piece but chose the part about Faust's encounter with the innocent girl Marguerite and the tragic consequences of their romantic outburst. Marguerite becomes the main hero who, contrary to Faust, finds salvation and escapes the devil's power. Faust was Gounod's first big success and it won him international acclaim. It is no wonder, as the composer knew well how to create an impressive theatre on stage, and every aria was a 19th century opera hit - Marguerite's song about the King of Thule, the Jewel aria, Mephistopheles' aria "The calf of gold", Valentin's farewell to Marguerite, as well as big choruses.
How do I find the Exhibition Centre? If travelling by car to the Exhibition Ground, use the entrance (gate) no. 9 from Bauerova Street, and for the duration of the performance you can park for free at Pavilion P. City transport bus no. 84 will take you to the Riviéra stop (4 mins. from Mendlovo náměstí), in which case you enter through gate no. 7 for pedestrians. There are no other entrances to the Exhibition Centre and Pavilion P. For the duration of the performance the temperature in Pavilion P will be at a room temperature of 22°C. We have arranged cloakroom, refreshments and toilet facilities. Smoking is not permitted within the Pavilion building.
Good and evil, evil and good - both play an equal part in the world, are part of our thoughts and it is up to us which of them will comeout on top...
Faust has dedicated his life to science and given up everything for it. However now he is aware of what he has given up. All that is left is to die, but even there fear stays his hand. The singing of girls is heard, youth and love appearing before his eyes. A brief moment of joy and then with Faust’s thoughts full of bitterness and emptiness Mephistopheles appears. What had seemed impossible is now within reach, and never mind if the price is the loss of his own soul–youth, the image of a beautiful girl. "I want to see her again." "Then come."
The town’s inhabitants gather for a celebration. "Long live wine," they cry. "Long live war," respond the soldiers setting off for war. Among them is Valentin who has to leave his sister Marguerite alone at home. Siebel, burning with his first young love, promises to take care of her. Mephistopheles mixes with the drunken company with his song of gold. In a moment the lust for riches transforms them into a bloodthirsty pack. Before they can recover Mephistopheles is engaged in another game–he foretells to Wagner that he will be killed in the first attack, and to Siebel that each flower he touches will fade. "No more flowers for Marguerite." Valentin’s abrupt reaction provokes Mephistopheles to make another prophecy "you will be killed by someone I know." Valentin reaches for his weapon which however to his horror falls from his grasp. He then recovers and together with the others forces Mephistopheles to leave.
The celebration begins and Siebel keeps an eye on Marguerite. The ageing and lonely Marthe keeps an eye out for any men available. When she does not get anywhere with Siebel, she tries Faust and in the end Mephistopheles. Marguerite arrives, and although she knows that Valentin would not like it she also wants to dance at least once. Faust offers her his arm but Marguerite shyly flees. The waltz captures all those present and only the order for the soldiers to depart ends the celebration.
Siebel arrives at Marguerite’s dwelling. He wants to deliver a love letter but cannot find the right words. Then he gets a better idea–after all a bunch of flowers will say everything. Overjoyed he enters the gardens but every flower wilts in his hands. What now? There is some holy water in Marguerite’s room – what if he dipped his hands in it?It works and he leaves a fresh bouquet on the doorstep. However Mephistopheles adds a box of jewels to the flowers, leaving Marguerite to choose for herself.
Marguerite hesitantly returns home, thinking of the unknown man from the celebration. At the door she finds both the flowers and the box. She cannot resist and opens it–the jewels are so appealing and she wants at least once to feel beautiful. Marthe arrives looking for new gossip and finds Marguerite adorned with jewels. Mephistopheles and Faust appear and Mephistopheles has no alternative but to take the lustful Marthe so as to leave Faust alone with Marguerite. She tells him of her life–her mother has died, as well as her little sister, while her brother is a soldier. Faust declares his love for her but at first Marguerite does not believe him. In the end she surrenders to her growing feelings–a moment of happiness that only seems like it will last forever. Marguerite once more becomes uncertain and begs Faust to leave. He can return tomorrow. Faust wants to obey but Mephistopheles stops him. Marguerite opens the window and her confession of love is heard in the night. Mephistopheles quietly opens the door for Faust.
Marguerite’s joy does not last long. Faust has left leaving her with an illegitimate child from their brief liaison. She is scared and looks in vain for Faust’s return. Siebel, the only one not to have scorned Marguerite, returns. He still loves her, even though he realises that despite everything Faust still has her love. Marguerite hands over the child to him and leaves for the church, the only refuge she has left.
The soldiers return from their campaign, and Valentin with them. Siebel begs him to forgive Marguerite, but in vain. Outside Mephistopheles’ mocking serenade is heard. Faust returns, however he hesitates to step inside. Valentin comes out to meet him. He senses that he is the cause of his shame and wants to beat him. Faust is reluctant to defend himself but Mephistopheles kills Valentin in cold blood. People from the town arrive, including Marguerite. To her horror all she hears from the lips of the dying Valentin is his curse.
Marguerite with her child seeks refuge in the church, but even here finds no relief. From all sides she hears only voices promising eternal damnation. Almost insane she kills her child.
In vain does Faust’s conscience try to send Mephistopheles back to where he came from.He drags him into the midst of a wild ceremony with prostitutes, when Faust by chance sees a picture of Marguerite. "I want to go to her."
Marguerite is in prison awaiting death. Faust arrive and wants to take her away, but she does not understand his words, and continually returns to their first encounter. She has her love back and needs nothing more. Mephistopheles insists it is time to go. Faust tries to carry Marguerite away, but she backs away from him in horror. In the moment when she refuses to be rescued, she finds in herself the strength to accept her guilt, punishment and forgiveness. For her it is the moment of redemption, Faust however remains alone with himself …