Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré; German translation by Georg C Winkler, based on the first German version by Julia Behr; German translation by Helmut Breidenstein and Alfred Schönolt under the title 'Faust' (Marguerite) (G)
S,lyrS,dramT,buffoT or S,lyrBar,B,buffoB; chorus; ballet; 2(II=picc).2(II=corA).2.2-188.8.131.52-timp.perc-2harps-strings;
Despairing at nature’s refusal to reveal her secrets, Faust, a man of science, decides to end his life. Suddenly the ringing of bells and church song reach his study from outside and remind Faust of the last authority that could help him: hell. Mephistopheles, conjured up by Faust, approaches and promises youth and love for the price of his soul. Faust hesitates. When the devil shows him the image of the fair Margaret, Faust agrees.
Valentin, Margaret’s brother, bids his friends farewell, for he has to go off to war. He leaves Margaret in the protection of Siebel, who is shyly in love with his friend’s sister. But Siebel is powerless in the face of evil. Hardly has Faust abducted Margaret with Mephisto’s help, he has had enough of her. – Margaret gives birth to an illegitimate child. Valentin, on his return from war, challenges Faust to a duel and is killed by him. Dying, Valentin curses his sister.
Faust seeks to forget everything in the wild bustle of Walpurgis Night, but the vision of Margaret draws him back to her. Margaret awaits her execution in prison. Mad with her suffering, she has killed her child. Faust wants to liberate her from prison with Mephisto’s help, but it is too late. To Mephisto’s cry, ‘Judged!’, heaven replies, ‘Saved.’ Mephisto and his evil spirits drag Faust away.