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Charles Gounod


Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA


Saturday, August 24, 1:00 PM

Tuesday, August 27, 7:30 PM

Friday, August 30, 7:30 PM


2 hours, 45 minutes (including one intermission)


Sung in French with projected English translations

It’s the original “Faustian bargain” – old Dr. Faust sells his soul to the devil to be young again.  But his decision has devastating consequences.  This story of tragedy and redemption is Gounod’s masterpiece, and it stands at the summit of French romantic opera.  Surging with memorable and timeless music, it has remained one of the world’s most popular operas ever since its premiere.




According to Bachtrack, tenor Duke Kim "possesses a pleasing tenor voice . . . like liquid gold."



 A "true artist," says Opera News, soprano Raquel González is a winner of the prestigious Sphinx Organization's Medal of Excellence Award.  



Hailed by the L.A. Times for his "commanding presence," bass-baritone Justin Hopkins has a voice that is "beautifully focused." 



Baritone Jarrett Porter has been praised by Opera News for his "supple vibrant baritone that he deploys with unaffected lyricism and manifest honesty." 



Mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce is becoming known for her "lush, flexible mezzo-soprano" and "insightful musicianship." (Opera News) 


Marthe Schwerlein

Mezzo-soprano Abbegael Greene received a master's degree in voice performance from Bard College Conservatory.




Baritone Kyle Dunn received a master’s degree in vocal performance from The Peabody Institute in Baltimore.






Stage Director


Scenic Designer


Costume Designer


Lighting Designer


Hair and Make-up Designer




Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master


Principal Coach and Rehearsal Pianist


Supertitles Author


Production Stage Manager


Tickets from $20

Purchase before April 3 to take advantage of early-bird pricing

Under 30? Contact the Mahaiwe box office directly to learn more about special discounts

On Saturday, August 24, there will be a free pre-performance talk with dramaturg Cori Ellison at 12pm (11:45 AM doors) for all ticket holders. Gain insight into one of Gounod's greatest works before curtain at 1:00 PM. 

Please note while Berkshire Opera Festival is the producer of Faust, all related sales and customer services are managed by the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office. The Mahaiwe is the ONLY official outlet to purchase tickets for Faust. Beware of fraudulent, third-party websites offering tickets at inflated prices.


Faust has a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part 1


Act I


Faust sits in his study, reflecting bitterly on his life spent in the pursuit of wisdom.  As dawn breaks, he longs for death and prepares a fatal potion while peasant girls are heard singing in the fields (Chorus: Paresseuse fille).  He curses faith and calls upon the powers of hell.  Méphistophélès appears, demanding to know what Faust wants, and Faust says that he yearns for his lost youth.  Méphistophélès grants this wish on one condition – he will serve Faust on earth, but Faust must serve him in hell.  As Faust hesitates, Méphistophélès conjures a vision of a beautiful village girl, Marguerite.  Enraptured, Faust agrees and Méphistophélès turns the poison into an elixir of youth.  When Faust drinks it, he is transformed into a handsome young man (Duet: À moi les plaisirs).

Act II


An Easter fair is in progress.  The soldier Valentin enters with a medallion around his neck, a gift from his sister Marguerite.  About to set off for the war, he regrets having to leave his sister alone (Avant de quitter ces lieux).  The student Wagner attempts to cheer everyone up, but is soon interrupted by Méphistophélès, who asks to join the party.  He sings a blasphemous song about a golden calf, which kings and gods must bow before (Le veau d’or).  Then he tells fortunes, predicting that Wagner will die in battle, that flowers will wilt in the hands of Marguerite’s young admirer Siébel, and that he knows the man who will kill Valentin.  He then proposes a toast to Marguerite.  Valentin is furious at the mention of his sister’s name and draws his sword, which shatters into pieces as he confronts Méphistophélès.  All are convinced they have witnessed an infernal power, and the soldiers hold their swords in the form of a cross as they slowly retreat (Chorale: De l’enfer qui vient émousser nos armes).  Couples begin to dance as Siébel enters, looking for Marguerite.  When she appears, Méphistophélès keeps the two of them apart so Faust can speak with her.  He offers Marguerite his arm, which she gently refuses.  As the dance continues, Méphistophélès promises to help Faust in his seduction (Chorus: Ainsi que le brise légère).




Siébel arrives in Marguerite’s garden to give her a bouquet of flowers (Faites-lui mes aveux), only to find Méphistophélès’s prediction fulfilled – every time he picks a flower, it withers.  He dips his hand in a basin of holy water at Marguerite’s door, breaking the spell.  Faust and Méphistophélès arrive to watch Siébel leave his bouquet, and Méphistophélès promises to return with a even better gift.  Alone, Faust praises the innocence of Marguerite’s home (Salut! demeure chaste et pure).  Méphistophélès has brought a box of jewels that he places next to Siébel’s bouquet.  He and Faust hide as Marguerite enters, singing to herself (Il était un roi de Thulé).  She discovers the jewels and begins to put them on.  Looking in a mirror, she is astonished at how beautiful she looks (Ah! je ris).  Her neighbor Marthe congratulates her and says that her own husband has never been that generous.  Faust and Méphistophélès enter.  Faust again offers his arm to Marguerite, who accepts, and they stroll around the garden (Quartet: Prenez mon bras un moment).  Marthe and Méphistophélès begin to flirt with each other.  Faust learns that Marguerite is all alone, with her mother dead and her brother gone to the war.  The couples separate as it grows dark, and Faust and Marguerite declare their love for each other (Duet: Laisse-moi contempler ton visage).  Faust leaves, but is stopped by Méphistophélès as his beloved appears at the window, hoping for his quick return.  Faust rushes back into her arms to the sound of Méphistophélès’s mocking laughter.


Act IV


Months have passed, and Marguerite has given birth to Faust’s child.  Faust has seemingly abandoned her and she is heartbroken.  Now a social outcast, she goes into a church to pray for forgiveness.  The voice of Méphistophélès cuts off her prayers, telling her that her soul is doomed to eternal damnation.  Priests and parishioners chant while demons call Marguerite’s name.  She prays again for forgiveness, but Méphistophélès curses her and she faints.


Meanwhile, a platoon of soldiers marches into the town square, having returned from the war victorious.  Valentin is among them.  They celebrate their safe return, singing to the glory of their ancestors, and depart (Chorus: Gloire immortelle).  Valentin goes into Marguerite’s house as Faust and Méphistophélès arrive in the square.  Méphistophélès tries to lure Marguerite from her home with a grotesque serenade (Vous qui faites l’endormie).  His song brings an enraged Valentin from the house, who now knows Faust has seduced his sister (Trio: Que voulez-vous, messieurs?).  The two men fight a duel.  Faust, with the assistance of Méphistophélès, is the winner.  As neighbors hurry into the square with Marguerite and Siébel, Valentin curses his sister with his dying breath.


Act V


Marguerite has gone insane and has been imprisoned for the murder of her child.  Méphistophélès enters the prison with Faust, who is overcome with remorse.  Faust sends him away and proceeds to wake Marguerite.  She recognizes him, and they happily recall the early days of their love.  Méphistophélès returns to help them escape, but Marguerite recoils in fear.  He and Faust plead with her to join them, but she refuses (Trio: Anges purs).  Finally, she falls lifeless and a choir of angels proclaims her salvation as her soul rises to heaven.


Pre-show talk

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