Faust - Detroit Opera

Overview

The classic deal with the devil, updated for modern times – together with restored music unheard for nearly 150 years.

Faust strikes a deal – a second chance for youth, vitality, and love – with disastrous consequences for him and those around him. A timeless story, this acclaimed production from Tony-nominated and Lincoln Center Theatre’s resident director Lileana Blain-Cruz comes to the Detroit Opera House with a modern lens: Faust, part of the 1%, is tantalized with the one thing his money cannot buy.

With a cast for the ages, this production also restores Gounod’s original music & libretto, written for the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris. It means this Detroit Opera production features music and scenes for this audience-favorite that have almost never been performed – until now! Experience this masterpiece anew, whether you’re an opera veteran or first-timer!

“Rather than tell a story of heroes and villains, Blain-Cruz managed to show the audience human beings with rare honesty.”

— Omaha World Herald

Opening night’s pre-opera talk featured Stage Director Lileana Blain-Cruz and Movement Director Raja Feather Kelly. Listen below:


 

Audio


 

Related Blog Posts

Re-hearing Gounod’s Faust: A New Performing Edition
Something About Marguerite
Profile: Lileana Blain-Cruz & Raja Feather Kelly
Detroit Opera and Faust
Podcast: Opera HERE: Arthur White and Andrea Scobie talk all things Faust and interviews baritone Babatunde Akinboboye

FAST FACTS

*NEW PRODUCTION*

Music: Charles Gounod
Libretto: Jules Barbier and Michel Carré
Performed in French with English Titles

Director: Lileana Blain-Cruz
Conductor: Valerio Galli
Movement Director: Raja Feather Kelly
Set Designer: Adam Rigg
Costume Designer: Kaye Voyce

Run Time: 3 hours 10 minutes with two intermission
Please be advised sound effects of a weapon are in use within the context of this production.

Digital Program Book

A Production from Opera Omaha

Artists

Lileana Blain-Cruz

Director

Valerio Galli

Conductor

Raja Feather Kelly

Movement Director

Zach Borichevsky

Faust

Robert Pomakov

Mephistopheles

Amina Edris

Marguerite

Babatunde Akinboboye

Valentin

Jenny Anne Flory

Siebel

Victoria Livengood

Dame Marthe

Ben Reisinger

Wagner

Synopsis

PROLOGUE

Faust is an aging tech mogul, who, after spending decades of his life focused on his career, realizes his achievements ring hollow. He mourns his youth and feels he has lost his chance at a life fulfilled with love. Cursing tech and faith, Faust attempts suicide, twice. Each time, just as he’s about to ingest pills and alcohol, he hears a choir outside his window, and sets the pills back down on the table. Feeling desperate, Faust seeks guidance from the Devil; moments later, the messenger of the Devil, Méphistophélès, appears.

Faust tells him of his desires for youth and love. Méphistophélès proposes to Faust that he can relive his youth, but only if he forfeits his soul. Faust struggles with the decision, but Méphistophélès tempts him further by showing him a vision of the beautiful Marguerite, who bartends at the local bar. Faust signs a contract with Méphistophélès. He then takes a pill and transforms into a young man. The two venture out on the town in search of Marguerite.

ACT 1

Faust and Méphistophélès arrive at the bar, finding the locals, students, and soldiers enjoying themselves. The soldier Valentin, about to leave for the war, asks his friend Siébel to watch over and protect his sister, Marguerite, in his absence. Siébel agrees as another soldier, Wagner, rouses the crowd for another song. They’re interrupted by Méphistophélès who sings a song about gold and greed. He turns the beer they are drinking to wine and forces them to drink it, as if possessed. He offers a sardonic toast to Marguerite, and Valentin intervenes. Valentin draws his rifle, but it breaks when he points it at Méphistophélès.

Now realizing who Méphistophélès is, Valentin fashions his broken rifle into a cross, hoping to get away from the devil’s messenger. When Méphistophélès is joined by Faust once more, the two lead the locals in a new round of song. Faust pulls Marguerite aside and tells her that he admires her, but she politely declines his advances.

(INTERMISSION)

ACT 2

Siébel leaves a small bouquet of flowers outside of Marguerite’s apartment, as she now also fancies her. Faust sees this and sends Méphistophélès out to search for a better gift. He returns with a giftbox filled with exquisite jewelry and luxuries. Faust leaves the box outside of her door next to Siébel’s flowers. Marguerite’s neighbor, Marthe, arrives and admires the ornate giftbox. She tells Marguerite that she must have an admirer. Marguerite tries on the magnificent jewels and dress, greatly smitten with them.

Faust and Méphistophélès make their way into the apartment complex’s courtyard and visit with the two ladies. Méphistophélès flirts with Marthe so Faust can speak to Marguerite alone. The two steal a quick kiss, but Marguerite sends Faust away. The two men leave but stay close to her apartment. Inside, Marguerite sings a song, wishing Faust would return. Faust jumps at the chance and knocks on her door. She greets him, and Méphistophélès laughs maniacally—he knows his plan is working.

(INTERMISSION)

ACT 3

Months have passed and Marguerite is now pregnant with Faust’s child. Meanwhile, Valentin and other soldiers have arrived home from war. Valentin questions Siébel about Marguerite but is unable to get a clear answer.

Marguerite goes to church seeking forgiveness but is stopped several times along the way by Méphistophélès. He bombards her with threats of damnation and curses, singing a lewd ballad, mocking her.

While searching for Marguerite, Valentin meets Faust, who is feeling remorseful for abandoning her. Valentin recognizes Méphistophélès’s voice and races to confront him. Méphistophélès possesses both Valentin and Faust, causing Faust to kill Valentin. Méphistophélès pulls Faust away as Marguerite rushes to her brother’s aid. Valentin curses her in his last dying breath. Marguerite, now alone, confronts her circumstances.

ACT 4

Marguerite sits in prison, condemned to death for murdering her own child. Méphistophélès appears with Faust to reap her soul. At first, she is happy to see Faust. However, she refuses to go with him, and recalls their first days together and how happy they once were. Méphistophélès becomes irritated and tells Faust to hurry. Faust tells her that they can save her, but again, Marguerite refuses to go with them. She asks the angels for forgiveness and tells Faust that she entrusts her fate to God. As Méphistophélès drags Faust to condemnation, Marguerite is enveloped by the light of salvation.

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FAST FACTS

*NEW PRODUCTION*

Music: Charles Gounod
Libretto: Jules Barbier and Michel Carré
Performed in French with English Titles

Director: Lileana Blain-Cruz
Conductor: Valerio Galli
Movement Director: Raja Feather Kelly
Set Designer: Adam Rigg
Costume Designer: Kaye Voyce

Run Time: 3 hours 10 minutes with two intermission
Please be advised sound effects of a weapon are in use within the context of this production.

Digital Program Book

A Production from Opera Omaha

Sponsors

Season Sponsor