Production photo of Faust, The Royal Opera © 2019 ROH. Photograph by Tristram Kenton


1729 July 2020
Online only
Opera and music

Online premiere: Friday 17 July 2020 at 7pm BST, broadcast free online as part of the Royal Opera House's #OurHouseToYourHouse series.

Gounod’s masterpiece is given the grandest of Royal Opera stagings in David McVicar’s richly layered production. It is set in Second Empire Paris and draws parallels between the conflicted natures of Faust and Gounod, both of them torn between religious faith and a keen eye for the ladies. This atmospheric interpretation has become a much-loved part of The Royal Opera repertory, theatrically exuberant in its spectacular sets, costumes and extensive dance. The gloriously tuneful score includes such famous numbers as Marguerite’s flamboyant Jewel Song, Faust’s impassioned serenade ‘Salut! demeure, chaste et pure’ and the rousing Soldiers’ Chorus.

Gounod’s Faust (1859) was one of the world’s most popular operas from the 1860s to World War II, and remains a core repertory work. The story, adapted by Gounod’s librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré’s play Faust et Marguerite, is based on Part I of Goethe’s epic poem Faust, which was a major inspiration for many composers during the 19th century and beyond.

Suitable for ages 12+

Contains scenes of an adult nature, including sexual violence.


With warm thanks to

Mrs Aline Foriel Destezet (Season Principal), Oanda and all the supporters of The Royal Opera


Opéra de Monte Carlo, Opéra de Lille and Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste



Disillusioned with life, the aged philosopher Faust calls upon Satan to help him. The devil Méphistophélès appears and strikes a bargain with the philosopher: Faust can have youth and the love of the beautiful Marguerite, but only in exchange for his soul. Faust agrees, and Méphistophélès arranges matters so that Marguerite loses interest in her suitor Siébel and becomes infatuated with Faust.

Faust’s initial love for Marguerite quickly wanes, and he abandons her. Her brother Valentin returns from the war and is furious to find his sister pregnant. As events further spiral downwards, will Faust repent his destructive actions, and can his soul, and Marguerite’s, be saved?



MusicCharles-François Gounod

LibrettoJules Barbier and Michel Carré

DirectorDavid McVicar

Revival directorBruno Ravella

Set designerCharles Edwards

Costume designerBrigitte Reiffenstuel

Lighting designerPaule Constable

ChoreographerMichael Keegan-Dolan

Revival choreographerEmmanuel Obeya


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