The Metropolitan Opera HD Live (2006–…): Season 3, Episode 4 - Berlioz: La damnation de Faust - full transcript

French composer Hector Berlioz puts a unique spin on the familiar tale of Faust, the scholar/scientist who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for love and knowledge. The story is told in 8 episodic scenes, in Cirque Du Soleil style.

The winter has made way for spring.

The earth is young again.

The very dome of the sky...

...lets fall its glittering lights.

I feel the morning breezes stir.

In my heart, too...

...something comes alive.

I hear around me the birds awakening...

...the whispering meadows and streams.

Oh, how delicious... live in solitude...

...far from the strife and the multitude!

The shepherds all leave their sheep.

They are dressing up for the fair.

Ribbons and daisies in their hair...

...under the trees they strut and leap.

Dancing and skipping crazily.

Follow them now merrily!

What are those shouts?

What is that distant noise?

Villagers, risen at daybreak... dance and sing on the green.

My misery is jealous of their joy.

Like lightning they sped by...

...their dresses flew in the air.

But soon the fastest...

...declared their steps had gone awry.

And one by one in the round--

They all fell to the ground--

'Stop your silly flirtation!'
'Hush now, my wife's not here.'

'Let's give in to temptation!'

And he suddenly snatched his dear.

They went to it with no delay.

How they danced that night away!

The plains below are on fire with war.

Ah! The sons of the Danube
prepare for battle.

Their armor gleams with vanity.

Their eyes flash with pride.

Their breasts swell to the victory chant.

I alone am cold and indifferent.

Without regret I left the countryside...

...pursued by endless boredom.

Without pleasure I see again...

...our mountains and my ancient city.

Oh, how it pains me....

The starless night has thrown...

...a veil of silence over the world.

It only adds to my melancholy.

O earth!

For me you bear no joy.

Where can I find what my life lacks?

In vain I search.

I grasp at air.

Come, it is time now to end it....

I am trembling....

Why tremble before the beckoning abyss?

O cup too long denied to my desires!

Come, come...

...give me the poison...

...that will enlighten or destroy me.

Christ is risen!

What is that I hear?

Leaving the shadowy tomb...

...He rises transfigured to Heaven's gate.

He strides toward eternal glory.

His disciples languish here below.


...He leaves us here to endure...

...the burning arrows of adversity.

O divine Master...

...Your bliss is the cause of our sorrow.

O Master...

...You ask that we endure...

...the burning arrows of adversity.

O memories!

Christ is risen!


O my trembling soul...

... will the wings of this song
take you to Heaven?

The days when I believed
return with their faith and peace.

My happy childhood...
the tenderness of prayer....

Let us follow now...

...where His voice summons us.

The pure delight of wandering... in a dream, through green fields... the infinite light of a spring sun!

Oh, the kiss of celestial love....

It flooded my heart with fervor...

...and banished all dark desires!


Songs of Heaven...

...why wake a wretched man
in his mortal dust?

Songs of prayer...

...why have you come
to weaken my resolve?

Your soothing tones relieve my heart.

Songs sweeter than the dawn...

...let me hear you once more!

My tears are all shed.

Heaven has won me back.

Such innocent emotion!

A child of the church!

I admire you, Doctor.

How those pious silver bells...

...must have charmed your troubled ears.

Who are you?

Your fierce gaze threatens like a knife.

Like a flame,
it scorches my very soul.

For such an intelligent man,
the question is a frivolous one.

I am the spirit of life,
the consoler of mankind.

I give what men want:
peace, pleasure...

...whatever your wicked dreams desire.

Very well then, poor devil,
show me your tricks.

At once! I will enchant
your eyes and ears.

You sit there sad as a worm
chewing your way through books!

Come! Follow me!

A change of air!

I consent.


Enough of your old philosophy!
Let me make you young again.

Another glass! More Rhenish!

Here, Faust, see this jolly company.

They live only for more wine, more song.

Oh, when it thunders...'s good to sit
by a bowl of fiery drink...

...and fill yourself like a barrel... a cozy, smoke-filled inn.

I love my wine and my golden ale...

...that make our troubles vanish!

When my mother gave birth...

...she gave me a drunk for a godfather.

Oh, when it thunders...'s good to sit
by a bowl of fiery drink...

...and fill yourself like a barrel... a cozy, smoke-filled inn.

Who knows a good story?

The wine is better when you laugh.

-Brander, it's your turn!
-He has no memory left!

I know one. I wrote it myself.

Out with it, quickly!

With your kind permission...
I'll sing you a new one.


In a kitchen once...

...a clever rat dressed up like a friar...

...a disguise that fooled the cat...

...and Luther would admire!

But then the poor devil ate...

...a poison crumb, and leapt about, oh--

As frantic as some Romeo!

As frantic as some Romeo!

He ran here, he ran there,
he scratched and gnawed.

He rushed from table to chair...

...the poison like a sharpened claw!

He ran around in a frenzy.

If you'd seen him, you'd say, oh--

That rat was a lovesick Romeo!

That rat was a lovesick Romeo!

He saw the oven door,
thought he'd be safe in there.

Wrong! The fire roared!
He was grilled till medium-rare.

The cook, a nasty girl,
giggled and said, "Look now, oh--"

"He up and died like Romeo!"

He up and died like Romeo!

Requiescat in pace!


And now a proper fugue!

A chorale!

Let us improvise a rousing farewell!

Listen well, Doctor.

We shall see brutality
in all its innocence.


Truly, gentlemen...

...your fugue is fine.

You would think we were in Heaven.

Allow me to say that your style
is both learned and deeply religious.

You spin your pious sentiments...

...better than the church itself.

Now, may I sing you a little song...

...on a subject no less touching?

Is he mocking us?
Who is this man?

How pale he is!

Look at him!

No matter!
Another song! Your turn!

A demure and dainty flea
lived with a rich old king...

...who loved her as tenderly
as his very own offspring.

And, as the accounts all go,
one day he had the flea...

...measured head to toe
for court-dress finery.

The flea delighted
in the very sight of herself... silks up to her chin,
glamorously top-shelf.

She called at once to bring her
cousins--they must see!

And by order of the king
each was named a grandee.

But it ended in tragedy.
The squirming dukes and squires...

...dared not disagree,
but scratched till they expired.

The ways of the world are hard!
Ah, let us bewail their fate.

But feel one bite--en garde!
Squash them before it's too late!

Bravo! Ah, bravissimo!

Squash them before it's too late!

Enough! Let us leave this place
where everything is base and brutal.

Have you no pleasures more peaceful
to offer me, my satanic guide?

So this displeases you?

Then follow me.

We have come at last
to the enchanted waters...

...where, my dear Faust,
you may take your rest.

Let moonlight bathe your face....

While you lie in slumber... will hear words from beyond.

Listen! Listen!

The spirits of earth and air...

...stir your dreams...

...with their gentle music.


Sleep, happy Faust!

Beneath a gold and azure veil...

...your eyes will slowly close.

May your star burn bright in Heaven...

...and dreams of love soothe your repose.

Happy Faust!

Beneath a gold and azure veil...

...your eyes will slowly close.

The land of dreams
is filled with ravishing sights.

A veil now floats over my eyes.

Your star burns bright in Heaven.

Watch young lovers on the green.

A sad, innocent girl follows them.

A shy tear glistening in her eye.

A fair maiden follows them.

Faust, she will fall in love with you.


The lake waters lap the mountains...

...then stream through tall grasses.

Such songs of joy echo from the shore.

The dancers swirl and call for more.

Some blithely scamper along the hillside.

Others boldly plunge into the chilly tide.


The lake waters lap the mountains...

...then stream through tall grasses.

The timid birds seek the shade...

...and flutter away on beating wings.

The magic is working.

He is ours.

They fly to the misty marshes.

Everyone flees, in search of life.

Every man searches the skies...

...for the star that shines only for him.

It is she whom Love destined for you.

Sleep now! Sleep!

Well done, my young sprites!

I am pleased with your snares.

Gently rock him to sleep now.


What is this vision?

An angel in human form!

At what altar can I find her?

Where can I throw myself at her feet?

All right! Follow me once more... that fragrant bower...

...where your beloved lies.

A dazzling treasure for you alone.

A crowd of soldiers and students
will be passing by her door.

Among these fools and their noise
we will make our way to your beauty.

Control yourself and follow
my instructions to the word.

Great cities are circled
by ramparts and walls... sugar-fed virgins
by leers that appall.

Victory is certain.
You're bound to be mine.

The struggle is long,
but the prize is sublime.

When the bugle sounds,
soldiers charge and close in.

Cities are like maidens.
They resist, then give in.

Oh, the prize is sublime.

Great cities are circled
by ramparts and walls... sugar-fed virgins
by leers that appall.

Victory is certain.
You're bound to be mine.

The struggle is long,
but the prize is sublime.

Jam nox stellata velamina pandit.

Nunc, nunc bibendum
et amandum est.

Vita brevis fugaxque voluptas...

...gaudeamus igitur, gaudeamus!

Nobis sub ridente luna...

...per urbem quaerentes puellas, eamus!

Ut cras fortunati caesares, dicamus:

...veni, vidi, vici!

Gaudeamus igitur!

Great cities are circled....

Like sugar-fed virgins....

Victory is certain....

But the prize is sublime!

Twilight's shadows!

How welcome you are!

You have brought me at last
to this sacred sanctuary.

Here I feel peace embrace me... the caress of morning air.

It is love, the love I longed for!

Every care falls from me now.

How I adore this silence...

...and breathe in its innocence!

O sweet, enchanted girl!

All that love could offer!

What emotions overwhelm me
at this fateful moment!

What ecstasy to see you
at your window!

Let me breathe this pure air!

Good God!

What happiness...

...after my long martyrdom!

I hear her coming!

Don't let yourself be seen!

O God, my heart is bursting with joy!

Now is your chance! Farewell!

But stay calm or you will lose her.

Good! Now my sprites and
I will sing you both a wedding song!

Be still, my soul!

How heavy the air is!

I am as frightened as a child!

Last night's dream troubles me....

I saw him in my dream.

Him! My future lover!

How handsome he was!

Oh, how I was loved...

...and how I loved him!

Shall we never meet in this life?

What madness!

There was once a king of Thul�,
who was faithful unto death.

He received a golden cup
with his beloved's final breath.

Even feasting with friends,
it never left his hand.

He had only to look at it...

...and fresh tears began.

When it came his time to die,
he bequeathed his realm and gold.

But not his cherished cup.
Onto that he firmly holds.

He gathers at his table
his barons and knights... his mighty castle...

...set on sea-swept heights.

He rises to make a toast
near the balcony's edge.

He drinks, then he flings the cup
high over the ledge.

It falls. The waters writhe
and then grow deathly still.

The king is pale and shivers.

Drink again he never will.

There was once...

...a king of Thul�....


...unto death....

My sprites! My fickle flames!

Hurry here!

I need you!

Come to me! Hurry!

Go, my will-o'-the-wisps...

...bewitch the maiden
and bring her to us.

In the name of the Devil, dance!

Dance well, little minstrels of Hell...

...or I will extinguish you all!

Let us sing this beauty a moral song... damn her more surely.

Waiting by the house
of him who adores you... little darling,
what have you done since dawn?

When pleasure calls you
into this peacock's room... may enter a maid...

...but you won't come out one.

Waiting by the house
of him who adores you... little darling,
what have you done since dawn?

He opens his arms
and into them you fly....

Good night, my darling.

Alas, good night.

At the fatal moment
put up a small fight...

...if he doesn't first
offer a wedding ring.

He opens his arms
and into them you fly....

Good night, my darling.

Alas, good night.

Off with you!


Let us go see our doves cooing.


What do I see?

Is it he?

Should I believe my eyes?

Beloved angel,
whose celestial image...

...revealed to me my own heart....

At last I see you.

The jealous mists that hid you...

...are driven away by love.

Marguerite, I love you!

You know my name?

I, too, have often spoken yours.


My name, yes...

...but it could be whatever pleases you.

In my dreams I saw you...

In your dreams.

...just as I see you now.

I recognize your voice...

...your features, your very words.

And you loved me?

I longed for you!

My love was always for you alone.

Marguerite, you are mine!

My beloved...

...your noble image....

-My beloved, your noble image...
-Beloved angel, celestial image...

...revealed to me my own heart.

At last I see you.

The jealous mists that hid
you are driven away by love.

Marguerite, my love....

What passion is this....

To hold you in my arms!

Love has led us to each other!

Marguerite, so tender!

To you I surrender!

You must surrender to love!

I am lost, bewitched in your arms.

Your dream has led you into my arms.

I feel such a strange languor.

Your happiness is in my arms.

My eyes are filling with tears....

Come with me!

Everything is dim...


I am dying....

Quick now! It is too late!

-Who is this? -A fool. -A friend.

His eyes burn into my heart.

But I am interrupting....

-Who said you could come in?
-We must rescue this angel.

Awakened by the songs, the neighbors
are hurrying here, complaining...

...mocking Marguerite, and shouting
for her mother, who is coming, too.

What's to be done?

-We must leave.

You will meet again tomorrow.

Tomorrow, my beloved!

I hear noise already in the next room.

Farewell, sweet night
scarcely begun!

Farewell, untasted feast of love!

Let's go!
Daylight is under the door.

Shall I see you again,
fugitive hour...

...when my soul
glimpsed its happiness?

When will you return?

When shall I glimpse my happiness?

Old lady, look to your daughter!

The crowd is coming.

Our warning is just in time.
There's a seducer inside--

Make haste to flee!

And soon an addition to the family!

Good God!

Do you hear the shouts?
I am lost if they find you here.

They're at the door!

You can escape by the garden door!

Until tomorrow, my angel!

-Soon all I desire will be mine.
-Now I have you in my grasp.

Happiness calls me!
I will seize it!

Proud spirit, I shall seize you now!

Love has taken possession of me.

Infatuation doubles your folly.

I have you in my grasp!

All is now mine!

My beloved!

You are my all!

Now is the moment!

My everything!

There's a seducer inside,
and soon an addition to the family!

Love's searing flame
now consumes each day.

The peace of my soul... forever gone away.

The pain of his absence
is like the grave for me.

Kept far from him I love...

...I mourn eternally.

My poor head is spinning,
terror clouds my sight.

My feeble heart flutters...

...clutched by a horrid fright.

How I admire the way he walks...

...the way he looks at the world....

His mouth with its sweet smile...

...his eyes of azure and pearl....

His voice that enchants me...

...and embraces me with praise....

His hand with its fond caresses...

...his kisses that smolder and blaze.

Love's searing flame
now consumes each day.

The peace of my soul... forever gone away.

All day, I sit at my window...

...or wander outside aimlessly...

...longing to see him approach... hasten his return to me.

My heart beats faster...

...when I feel he is near.

If only my tender thoughts...

...could keep him with me, here.

Oh, the enfolding fire!

The only wish I can speak of... to see my very soul expire... the one last kiss of his love.

When the bugle sounds...

...soldiers charge and close in.

Soon the whole town
will be fast asleep.

The struggle is long,
but the prize is sublime.

One can already hear the trumpets
and drums of evening...

...and their jolly songs... on that night
when love brought me Faust.

Jam nox stellata velamina pandit.

But he does not come!

He is not coming!


Nature, so vast...

...unfathomable, proud!

You alone give solace to my gloom.

In your arms I feel my misery fade.

I regain my strength.

I want to live.

Blow, tempests!

Roar, you mighty forests!

Crash down, you rocks and crags!

Torrents, hurl your waves!

Majestic dissonance...

...let me join my voice with yours!



I worship you!

Radiant worlds on high!

A restless heart... insatiable soul...

...cry out to you
for a joy that is gone!

Tell me, in the vault of the sky... you see love's constant star?

You badly need its help, my friend.

While you dream here,
that poor child, Marguerite--


No doubt I should be silent.

You no longer love her.

She was dragged off to prison...

...condemned for killing her mother--

I hear hunters riding in the woods.

Speak up! What did you say?

Marguerite in prison?

That harmless sleeping potion... gave her to calm her mother...

...during your nights of love...

...has caused all the trouble.

Adrift in dreams...

...waiting for you,
she used it every night.

She used it so often
the old woman died of its poison.

Now do you understand?

Hell and damnation!

It was your love that damned her.

Save her! Save her, you wretch!

Ah! So I am the guilty one!

You humans are
ridiculous creatures!

No matter.

I still have the power
to open a door for you.

But what have you done for me
while I have been serving you?

What are you asking for?

From you?

Nothing but your signature
on this old parchment.

I will save Marguerite...

...if you sign and swear
to serve me tomorrow.

What is tomorrow when
I suffer in this moment?

Give it to me!

My signature!

Off now to her dark dungeon!

What anguish I have caused her!

Marguerite, my love!

Here, Vortex! Giaour!

Two black steeds, swift as thought.

Let us mount and ride away!

Justice will not wait.

In my heart I hear her desperate cries.

Poor abandoned girl!

Sancta Maria...

...ora pro nobis.

Sancta Magdalena...

...ora pro nobis.

Careful of those women and children
praying at the foot of the cross.

What of them! Ride on!

O God!
A hideous beast is pursuing us!

A shadow.

A swarm of huge night birds!

Their terrible shrieking...

...their black wings beating.

The death-bell already rings for her.

Are you afraid?
Shall we turn back?

No! I can hear the bell! Hurry!

Dancing skeletons all around us!

How they laugh at us as we pass!

Think about saving her,
and scorn the dead.

The horses are shuddering,
manes bristling, bridles broken.

I can see the earth itself writhing,
hear the thunder roll beneath us.

It is raining blood!

Sound your trumpets in triumph!

He is ours!



Haas! Haas! Haas!

Are you master of this soul... and forever,
Prince Mephistopheles?

Lord and master forever.

Faust freely signed the fatal deed...

...that has damned him to our fires?

He freely signed.



Tradioun marexil fir trundin,
xe burrudixe.

Fori mi dinkorlitz.

O merikariu! O mevixe!

Merondor dinkorlitz merondor.

Tradioun marexil, tradioun burrudixe,
trudinxe caraibo.

Fir omevixe merondor mit aysko.

Diff, diff, merondor aysko!

Haas! Haas! Satan!

Haas haas Belphegor! Haas Mephisto!
Haas haas Kroix!

Diff, diff, Astaroth! Diff Belzebuth!

Astaroth, Mephisto!

Sat, sat rayk!


Haas! Mephisto haas!


Then Hell fell silent.

The blood boiling
on lakes of brimstone...

...the grinding teeth
of those who torment souls...

...this was all that could be heard.

In the deep abyss...

...a diabolical ritual
is now performed.

The horror!


All praise!


Her only fault was love...

...O Lord.


Ascend to Heaven...

...innocent soul.

Love alone led you astray.

Come, regain the beauty...

...which your wandering heart spoiled.

Come, heavenly virgins!

The seraphim will dry the tears...

...earthly sadness wrings from you.

Have faith in your Creator...

...and rejoice in your happiness.

Come, Marguerite!

Come to us!