Joseph Calleja
Boito: Mefistofele

Boito: Mefistofele

Boito: Mefistofele

  • Bavarian State Opera, Munich
  • April 29 May 3 & 6 2018

"The lord of creation has plummeted into the darkest depths and is now so weak that I lack the desire to incite him to do evil." It is a resigned, often cynical devil who Arrigo Boito - also known for being the librettist for Verdi's later masterpieces Otello and Falstaff - distilled from Goethe's two-part Faust tragedy and turned into the protagonist of his only finished opera.


Heavenly hosts praise the Lord, which provokes the ridicule of Mefistofele. He bemoans the pretentious hubris of the human being arising from their belief in rationality. Mefistofele wagers that he will successfully tempt Faust to the evil side.

1st Act

The Fair
Faust and his companion Wagner are at a boisterous fair, indulging in romantic views of nature. Without recognising who he is, Faust feels more and more uncomfortable in Mefistofele´s presence. Wagner tries to reassure him.

The Pact
Mefistofele offers Faust his services. When Faust asks his identity, he claims to be the Spirit that always denies. Cynically he confides to his nihilistic destructive view of the world. Faust makes a pact with Mefistofele. He is willing to exchange his soul for one moment of sheer happiness.

2nd Act

Faust has fallen in love with Margherita. She asks him what he believes in. Faust replies that for him only the ecstasy of love counts. In the meantime, Mefistofele flirts with Marta. Faust would like to be undisturbed with Margherita at her home and so gives her a sleeping potion for her mother.

Witches’ Night
Mefistofele makes his followers praise him in a wild orgy. Faust believes he sees a handcuffed girl in the distance, a girl with a necklace covered in blood who reminds him of Margherita. However, in order to distract Faust, Mefistofele calls the image an illusion. The crowd falls into more and more excessive dancing.

3rd Act

Margherita awaits her execution in prison. She is accused of murdering her child and her mother. Faust wants to free her from the dungeon. Margherita, however, tortured by her bad conscience, is not willing to follow him. Nevertheless, Faust and Margherita share a short moment of imagining a happy future together. Mefistofele urges Faust to rush, Faust cannot save Margherita anymore.

4th Act

Faust escapes into an Arcadian dream world where Mefistofele, who accompanies him, feels extremely uncomfortable. Faust now sees the ideal of eternal beauty symbolised by Elena. Together they praise the secret of love

Faust has reached the end of his life, but has still not experienced the ultimate happiness. Yet, in an ecstatic vision he sees himself as king of a peaceful world; the memories of his past fade away. Engrossed, he conjures the moment. He shall not pass. This way Faust is free from Mefistofele´s influence and dies. For Mefistofele the game begins again, the game of seducing people with evil.