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Plot »Faust«

Part One

Lonely, exhausted, and bitter, old Faust tries to take his own life. Angry at his own fear of death, he calls out the devil. Méphistophélès appears and offers him wealth and fame, but Faust wants his youth back, »the treasure that contains everything«. In return, Méphistophélès demands eternal servitude »down there«. When Faust hesitates, Méphistophélès draws his attention to Marguerite. Fascinated by her, Faust accepts the pact and becomes a young man again.

In a group of celebrating soldiers, Valentin prays for his sister Marguerite and hopes that her medallion will bring him luck in the upcoming battle. When Wagner starts a cheerful song, Méphistophélès forces his way into the group. In the song of the golden calf he sings about the power of money. Without even being asked, he predicts Wagner's death in battle. He also prophesizes misfortune for Valentin and Siébel, who is in love with Marguerite.

Faust meets Marguerite and speaks to her. Although she walks off and leaves him standing alone, his interest only increases.

Siébel picks flowers for Marguerite and plans to finally confess his love for her.

Méphistophélès leads Faust to Marguerite's house and goes to find valuable presents for Marguerite. Faust has scruples as to whether he should continue his efforts, but Méphistophélès leaves the presents at her door and hides with Faust.

Against her will, Marguerite is impressed by the man who spoke to her. When she finds the presents, she is delighted. Her neighbor Marthe encourages her to accept the jewelry.

Faust and Méphistophélès engage the women in conversation. While Marthe and Méphistophélès soon separate again, Faust and Marguerite grow closer. Faust's confession of love makes Marguerite happy, but she refuses his request to be allowed to stay the night with her. But while Faust is already moving away, she calls him back full of love.

Part Two

Faust has left the now pregnant Marguerite. Ostracized and mocked, she longs for him. Siébel comforts Marguerite and wants to be by her side from now on as a friend. The soldiers return victorious; Wagner has died in the war. Siébel responds evasively to Valentin’s questions about Marguerite.

Faust wants to see Marguerite again but at the same time fears meeting her. Méphistophélès provokes Valentin with a serenade performed for Marguerite, in which he alludes to her pregnancy. An outraged Valentin throws away the medallion that he had received from Marguerite. He challenges Faust to a duel and is stabbed to death. In front of all the townsfolk rushing over, the dying Valentin curses his sister, even in the event that God should forgive her.

Marguerite asks God for forgiveness, but only receives an answer from Méphistophélès, who reinforces her feelings of guilt. A church choir sings about Judgment Day.

During Walpurgis Night, Faust and Méphistophélès are out among the will-o'-the-wisps, ghosts and witches. While Méphistophélès is visibly at ease, Faust cannot distract himself from his longing for Marguerite, even with a drinking song.

Faust lets Méphistophélès lead him to Marguerite, who has killed their child, into the dungeon jail. They remember the beginning of their relationship. Both assure each other of their love, but Marguerite refuses to follow Faust.

Voices from on high recall the resurrection of Christ.
 

- Translation: Steven Scheschareg