Damnation de Faust, La (‘The Damnation of Faust’)
- D. Kern Holoman
(‘The Damnation of Faust’)
Légende dramatique in four parts by Hector Berlioz to a libretto by the composer and Almire Gandonnière after Gérard de Nerval ’s French translation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ’s Faust; concert performance, Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), 6 December 1846 (adapted as a fully staged opera in five acts by Raoul Gunsbourg for the Monte Carlo Opéra, 18 February 1893).
La damnation de Faust began to emerge in late 1845 when Berlioz undertook to revise and expand his Huit scènes de Faust of early 1829 into an ‘opéra de concert’, a natural outgrowth of the sorts of issues he had treated in his ‘symphonie dramatique’ Roméo et Juliette of 1839. He began to use the term ‘légende’ in late 1846. The dramatis personae are Faust (tenor), Méphistophélès (baritone or bass), Brander (bass) and Marguerite (mezzo-soprano), with a chorus and a children’s chorus. La damnation de Faust was an artistic success but a failure at the box office. In late ...