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Gounod Faust

From 28 June TO 13 July 2022
Opéra Bastille - Paris
Program

Gounod : Faust

Cast
  • Conductor
    Thomas Hengelbrock
  • Director
    Tobias Kratzer
  • Performers
    Faust: Benjamin Bernheim
    Marguerite: Angel Blue
    Méphistophélès: Christian Van Horn
    Valentin: Florian Sempey
    Siebel: Emily D'Angelo
Premium Category

Category Premium (valid on some dates): This category includes seats in Category + (Optima), a glass of champagne per person in private rooms and one programme per booking.

The Premium price includes a contribution (€150 per ticket) to support the friends of the Opera (AROP).

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Opéra Bastille - Paris Location Place de la Bastille - 75012 Paris France

  • Venue's Capacity: 2745

From its beginnings under Louis XIV to the present day, including the construction of the Palais Gamier under Napoleon III, the history of the Paris Opera has been marked by the wishes and whims of the French government. The decision to build a new opera on the Place de la Bastille is no exception, made by Frangois Mitterrand less than a year after being elected President. A competition was organized, and of the 750 projects presented, the one designed by the Uruguayan-Canadian architect Carl Ott won. The new building, whose large ground surface ostentatiously marks the site where the French Revolution broke out, was inaugurated during the bicentennial celebrations of that same Revolution in 1989.

 

From the Place de la Bastille, the building's glass facade, with its "aleatory" lighting designed by Yann Kersale, suggests the sober modernism of its interior, even more so because the interior uses the same construction materials as the exterior, symbolizing a desire to open out to the public. Once inside, one can discover the warmth of the light wood that adorns the large 2703-seat hall with its proscenium stage. But the building barely stops here, for one must imagine the enormous backstage that takes up 55 per cent of the edifice's total volume, the six underground stories of technical premises, the workshops that make and stock the mobile sets as well as the costumes, not to mention the Gounod Hall, that has a stage identical to the main one, used for rehearsals. Designed around a symmetrical axis that is symbolized by the sculpted tuning forks that decorate the public premises, the Bastille Opera is a formidable computerized machine for staging opera productions, employing the population of a veritable city-within-a-city.

 

The conductor Myung-Whun Chung faced the difficult task of starting up this machine. The audience discovered productions staged by Bob Wilson or Peter Sellars, which it did not always unanimously applaud. But today, in full possession of its impressive technical means, permitting the rotation of different productions, the Bastille Opera proposes the most diverse performances. Currently managed by Hugues Gall and his music director James Conlon, revivals, premieres and major productions now share the season's billing, at a pace that leaves the audience little respite.

Since 2014, Stépahne Lissner is the Director of the Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Faust

FAUST, A SYNOPSIS OF CHARLES GOUNOD'S GRAND OPERA

Setting: 16th Century, Germany

HISTORY

Faust is a five-act grand opera composed by Charles Gounod (1818-1893). The opera debuted in Paris on March 19, 2014 at the Theatre Lyrique.

However, it did not receive a good reception initially and the publisher, Antoine Choudens, took him for a tour through Italy, England, Belgium, and Germany. In 1862, he was revived in Paris and it immediately became a hit. It became the most frequently performed opera at the Paris Opera. Its popularity endured for decades leading to it being translated into at least 25 languages. However, due to the expensive nature of its full production, his popularity and critical reputation started waning around the 1950s. Interestingly, however, he is currently one of the most frequently performed operas at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Act 1

Faust's Cabinet

Faoust, who is an aging scholar, realizes that after spending decades studying, he has nothing to show for it, but instead, he has missed out on life and love. He attempts to take his life, at least twice, with poison, but he stops each time when he hears a pastoral choir. He damns science, faith and happiness and seeks Satan's guidance. Moments later, Méphistophélès, the devil, appears and he tells him of his desires for youth and love.


The devil tempts him by showing him a vision of a young beautiful maiden Marguerite. He makes a deal with the devil (a forfeiture of his soul in exchange of youthfulness and love). The devil turns the poison in an elixir of youth, which he drinks, turns into a handsome, youthful gentleman and sets out into the world.

Act 2

Townspeople, students and soldiers sing a drinking song. Valentin, who is leaving for war, asks Siébel to protect and watch over his sister, Marguerite when he is gone, which Siébel agrees and the crowd sings another song. The song is interrupted by Méphistophélès, who amuses the crowd with a song on the golden veal.

Méphistophélès maligns Marguerite, makes Valentin angry in the process and tries to hit Méphistophélès with his sword, which shatters. Méphistophélès is joined by him, Marguerite later appears and he declares his admiration, but Marguerite rejects his approach.

Act 3

The flowers collected by Siébel outside Marguerite's garden wither as prophesied, but holy water seems to restore them. Faoust and Méphistophélès enter, Siébel flees. He gets enchanted by Marguerite's environment.

Marguerite finds the jewels left by Méphistophélès and tries them and sees a different woman in the mirror reflection of her. He later seduces Marguerite and they make love.

Act 4

Marguerite, now abandoned by Faoust, is pregnant. Valentin returns from war only to find Margurite pregnant. Outside, Méphistophélès serenades Marguerite on his behalf. A fight between Valentin and him breaks out and Valentin gets fatally wounded. He curses Marguerite with his last breath. Distraught, Margurite goes to church to pray for forgiveness. She hears Méphistophélès's voice telling her that she is damned and she collapses in terror.

Act 5

Marguerite is locked and her child is dead. Assisted unwillingly by Méphistophélès, he breaks into the prison to save Marguerite. He gets overwhelmed with pity, Marguerite panics when she sees Méphistophélès and blood on his hand. With a frantic appeal to heaven, she dies. Méphistophélès curses her again, but this time angelic voices proclaim that Marguerite is saved.

THE MAIN ROLES

Faoust,Tenor
Méphistophélès,Bass-Baritone
Marguerite,Soprano
Valentin, a soldier, Marguerite's brother,Baritone
Siébel, Faust's student, Soprano
M. Cibot,Wagner, friend of Faust,Baritone
Marthe Schwerlein, Marguerite's guardian, Mezzo-Soprano

Opéra Bastille

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