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Music:Charles Gounod
Libretto:Michel Carré and Jules Barbier
Premiere:Paris, March 19, 1859

Rich drama and ornate occultism made Faust an immediate popular success. The elderly philosopher Faust, lamenting his lost powers and wasted life, lifts a glass of poison to his lips, but stops short when he hears youthful voices and bitterly calls on Satan for help. The devil Mephistopheles materializes, offering Faust the gift of youth if he will sacrifice his soul, and they seal the pact. With Mephistopheles smirking in the background, a now young Faust seduces and betrays Marguerite, killing her brother, Valentine, when he defends his sister. Marguerite, too, is damned and murders her illegitimate child, for which she is condemned to death. But ultimately, Marguerite's goodness wins out, and the angels who escort her to heaven also rescue a repentant Faust from the devil's clutches.

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