[Met Performance] CID:38490
La Damnation de Faust {8} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/12/1907.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 12, 1907


Faust...................Charles Rousselière
Marguerite..............Geraldine Farrar
Méphistophélès..........Pol Plançon
Brander.................Bernard Bégué
Dance...................Ballet Aerien-Heidenreich [Last Performance]

Conductor...............Arturo Vigna


The operatic version of "The Damnation of Faust" was first produced at Monte Carlo in 1893 and in Paris not until 1903 at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt. The story in some few respects follows Goethe's poem but in general is essentially different. The first scene shows Dr. Faust as an old man poring over his musty volumes regretting his youth. He listens to the sounds of the village gayety with comparative indifference but when he witnesses the martial display, watches the soldiers preparing for war and hears the resounding splendor of the Hungarian March, he for a moment is seized with patriotic ardor which soon gives way again to depression and melancholy.

In the second act when about to end it all with poison Faust is diverted from his purpose by the sight of the church and the musical fervor of the devotees. While under this influence Mephistopheles, who has come under the form of a dog, appears on the scene and offers to console the unhappy doctor by means of pleasure. Faust accepts but without pledging himself to anything. They depart.

The third act introduces the pair in a low den where drunken sots indulge in vile revelry. But this soon disgusts Faust who asks Mephistopheles if it is the best he can offer him in the way of pleasure. Cannot he give him youth-that is best of all. Mephistopheles agrees.
In the third act the new youthful Faust watched over by his demon has a dream in which the image of Marguerite appears to him. He calls to her. Mephistopheles congratulates him that the charm begins to operate, at the same time surrounding his victim with all the seductions of a dance of sylphs.

The fourth act opens with a scene showing the chamber of Marguerite and outside a street of the town and the facade of a church. Soldiers and students appear and sing in chorus. As they finish Mephistopheles and Faust enter. Mephistopheles points out Marguerite's house and Faust enters and goes to the garden at rear.

Marguerite enters and after the ballad of the King of Thule falls asleep and has a dream which is acted. She sees herself in the street drawn by a demon power. She tries to get to the church to pray but it is prevented. The image of Faust appears and Marguerite is irresistibly impressed. Faust disappears and she falls fainting. The real Marguerite awakes to find Faust coming to her from the garden. Their love scene ensues and is after a tune interrupted by Mephistopheles who comes to tell them that the crowd wonders at the presence of a man in Marguerite's house at such an hour. They are coming to find out what it all means and are now at the door. Marguerite is frightened and urges Faust to go as the chorus of neighbors is heard in the street. A trio closes the act and Faust is supposed to escape by the garden.

A certain period is supposed to elapse before the fifth and the final act. Marguerite is in her room alone lamenting that despite her love Faust collies no more. The soldiers and students are heard in the distance. The scene changes to a forest scene where Faust is alone again voicing his disgust with life. Mephistopheles comes to tell him that Marguerite is condemned but he can save her from the scaffold if Faust will sign the pact with him. Faust does so and they start together on their wild ride to the inferno. This is depicted musically and pictorially ending in their being engulfed in the abyss. A representation of hell is seen and, immediately after, the roofs and spires of a town. Angels are seen descending, and soon after they reascend bearing the body of Marguerite to Heaven.

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