Charles Gounod’s Faust

Production Sponsor

Production Patron

Martha Lou Henley, C.M.

Production Patrons

Michael and Inna O’Brian

Highlights from the 2018 Vancouver Opera Festival

CREATIVE TEAM

Conductor: Jonathan Darlington

Production Stage Manager: Theresa Tsang

CAST

In order of vocal appearance

David Pomeroy as Faust

Robert Pomakov as Méphistophélès

Marianne Fiset as Marguerite

Peter Barrett as Wagner

Mireille Lebel as Siébel

With the Vancouver Opera Chorus and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

SYNOPSIS

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Faust has spent a lifetime in the study of science. Disillusioned with life, he resolves to poison himself. He curses God and calls on the Devil. Méphistophélès obligingly appears and offers Faust riches, power, or glory. Faust, however, only wants to recapture the innocence of youth. Méphistophélès agrees to Faust’s request, but there are conditions: on earth Faust will be master, but in the world below their roles will be reversed. When Faust hesitates, Méphistophélès conjures up a vision of Marguerite. Faust signs the contract and returns to his youth.

Valentin and Wagner are going off to war with the other soldiers, and Valentin is concerned about leaving his sister Marguerite unprotected. Wagner starts a song to cheer everyone up, but is interrupted by Méphistophélès. Méphistophélès tells fortunes: Wagner, it seems, will be killed in his first battle. The flowers that Siébel picks will wither, and Valentin will meet his death at the hands of someone close to Méphistophélès. Dissatisfied with the wine on offer, Méphistophélès conjures up a better vintage to toast Marguerite. This angers Valentin and both draw their swords. Valentin strikes out and his blade shatters. Everyone is convinced they are in the presence of the Devil. Méphistophélès leads Faust to a place where couples are dancing. Faust sees Marguerite and offers her his arm. She refuses, but so charmingly that he is left more entranced than before.

Walpurgis Night. Faust and Méphistophélès are surrounded by a group of demons. Faust is shown a vision of Marguerite: she has been imprisoned for infanticide and gone insane. With Méphistophélès’s help, Faust goes to the prison in an attempt to save Marguerite. She seems to recognize her lover and recalls the night when he first seduced her. Faust is overwhelmed with pity. Marguerite panics at the sight of the Devil and, with a frantic appeal to heaven, she dies. Méphistophélès damns her but angelic voices proclaim she is saved.

Seduced and abandoned, Marguerite is expecting Faust’s child. She is still in love with him and prays for him and their unborn child. The soldiers return with Valentin. Siébel tries to stop him seeing Marguerite but Valentin, suspecting the worst, pushes him aside. Outside her house, Méphistophélès serenades Marguerite on Faust’s behalf. Valentin and Faust fight and, with the intervention of Méphistophélès, Valentin is fatally wounded. Marguerite watches her brother die and hears him curse her with his last breath. Distraught, Marguerite goes to church to pray for forgiveness. When she hears the voice of Méphistophélès telling her that she is damned, she collapses in terror.

Seduced and abandoned, Marguerite is expecting Faust’s child. She is still in love with him and prays for him and their unborn child. The soldiers return with Valentin. Siébel tries to stop him seeing Marguerite but Valentin, suspecting the worst, pushes him aside. Outside her house, Méphistophélès serenades Marguerite on Faust’s behalf. Valentin and Faust fight and, with the intervention of Méphistophélès, Valentin is fatally wounded. Marguerite watches her brother die and hears him curse her with his last breath. Distraught, Marguerite goes to church to pray for forgiveness. When she hears the voice of Méphistophélès telling her that she is damned, she collapses in terror.

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