La Damnation de Faust

Season : 
Length : 
Song language : 
Conductor : 
Patrick Davin
Director : 
Ruggero Raimondi
Choirmaster : 
Pierre Iodice
Artist : 
Paul Groves, Nino Surguladze, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Laurent Kubla
Number of performances : 
Dates : 
Wed, 25/01/2017 to Sun, 05/02/2017

Last performance at the Opera : Mai 1992.

Faust, a savant and philosopher maltreated by life, is about to commit suicide when Mephisto appears, promising to reveal to him the countless beauties of the world. Faust then signs a pact with the devil and meets the candid Marguerite, who falls in love with him. He abandons her and, in a race to the abyss, embarks on a terrifying descent into hell.


The resonance of Faust by Goethe was essential for the romantic soul. Questions on the destiny of Man, exploration of his psychology, the initiating journey and the sublime expression of Love imbued the whole of Europe. A fascinated reader of the poem translated by Gérard de Nerval, Berlioz was to be driven for a long time by the desire to set this anti-hero, this prototypical anguished being with whom he identified, to music. La Damnation de Faust, premiered in Paris in 1846, originating from the Huit scènes de Faust of 1829, was designed for the concert hall. The orchestra and the choruses play a major role in it and one hears, at the start, the famous Marche hongroise, known as Rakoczy, made unforgettable by Louis de Funès in La Grande Vadrouille.

Several arias are also famous, such as the Song of the rat, that of the flea, the Ballad of the King of Thulé or the great Rose Aria of Méphisto, superb vocal moments that will be borne by the mezzosoprano Nino Surguladze, the Faust of Paul Groves, and the impressive Mephisto of Ildebrando d'Arcangelo.

A gripping succession of varied tableaux, closer to painting than to storytelling, La Damnation de Faust is marvellously suited to staging as an opera, all the more for the fact that, following an absence from our stage for almost 25 years, the prestigious Ruggero Raimondi will be in charge of breathing life into it. Another great advantage of this very promising production is the presence of Patrick Davin, first guest conductor of the Royal Opera of Wallonie-Liège, to the musical direction.



All opera performances are preceded by an introduction to the show that is open to all. The appointment is set 30 minutes before the performance in the company of a lecturer for a presentation that is pertinent to the work.