by Charles Gounod

Unreleased version of 1859
Opera in four acts on a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré (after Goethe), premiered at the Théâtre-Lyrique on 19 March 1859.
First modern performance of the initial version of the work, given in concert.
World premiere recording.

14 June 2018 – 7:30 pm
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Tickets 35 to 110 € Book

Co-production Bru Zane France, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Paul Prévost Editions – L'Opéra français
Bärenreiter-Verlag Kassel | Basel | London | New York | Praha

It would appear that Gounod began to think about setting Faust to music as early as his residence at the Villa Medici in the 1840s. But almost twenty years were to elapse before one of the most famous works of nineteenth-century French music saw the light of day. If today’s opera lovers believe they are familiar with this pillar of the repertoire, premiered at the Théâtre-Lyrique in 1859, it is because its entry within the portals of the prestigious Opéra in 1869 subsequently propelled the work – in its new form – into theatres all over the world. But numerous modifications were the price to be paid for gaining access to that Parisian temple. Between the Faust of 1859 and its counterpart of 1869, some of the spirit has vanished: the spontaneity of the spoken dialogue, sometimes set as melodrama; the pawky humour of Dame Marthe, here a character role; or the irony of Méphistophélès, more comical than cynical. We have forgotten the charm of the first tenors who sang ‘Salut, demeure chaste et pur’ with the timbre typical of the voix mixte of opéra-comique. Moreover, a large number of pieces were consigned to oblivion by these modifications, including a splendid duet for Marguerite and Valentin, an aria for Siebel, an introductory trio with a prominent part for Wagner, Méphisto’s ‘Chanson de Maître Scarabée’ (later replaced by ‘Le Veau d’or’) and a curious chorus of Sorceresses. To discover this first Faust is to gain a deeper insight into the French aesthetic of demi-caractère, so specific to the Paris of the 1850s.

Christophe Rousset conductor
Thibaud Epp chorus master
Marc Paquien vocal coach

Marguerite Véronique Gens
Faust Benjamin Bernheim
Valentin Jean-Sébastien Bou
Méphistophélès Andrew Foster-Williams
Siebel Juliette Mars
Dame Marthe Ingrid Perruche
Wagner / Un Mendiant Anas Séguin