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Alerte alerte ou vous perdus

Opera details:

Opera title:

Faust

Composer:

Charles Gounod

Language:

French

Synopsis:

Faust Synopsis

Libretto:

Faust Libretto

Translation(s):

English Deutsch

Recitative details:

Type:

recitative

Role(s):

Méphistophélès / Marguerite

Voice(s):

Bass-Baritone / Soprano

Act:

5.05a

Previous scene: Le jour va luire
Next scene: Anges purs anges radieux

Gounod – FAUST – Trio final: ‘Alerte, alerte, ou vous êtes perdus’ (Gedda, Christoff, Los Angeles)

Singer(s): Victoria de los Ángeles Boris Christoff Nicolai Gedda

FAUST
Opéra en 5 actes
Composer: Charles Gounod (1818–1893)
Libretto : Jules Barbier & Michael Carré, after Goethe’s Faust, part 1 (1808)
First performed : Théâtre Lyrique (boulevard du Temple), Paris, 19 March 1859

SETTING: Germany, 16th century

PLOT: The philosopher Faust sells his soul to Méphistophèles in exchange for youth. Faust seduces and then abandons Marguerite, who gives birth to an illegitimate child. He then murders her brother, the soldier Valentin, who curses Marguerite with his dying breath. Marguerite goes mad and kills her child; Faust and Méphistophèles go to the prison to rescue her, but she rejects them. She dies and her soul rises up to heaven.

‘Faust’ was one of the most successful operas of the nineteenth century. Like Berlioz ('La damnation de Faust', 1846: cyoutube.com/watch?v=0-x-9WzLS7Q&list=PLoB7Fd8EvhHagG5GFHsyUz60HRHvdsPla) before him, Gounod read Faust as a young man, as a 20-year-old Prix de Rome student, and dreamt of composing music for it. (Goethe himself had wanted Mozart or Meyerbeer to set it to music.)

It was surprisingly unsuccessful when it was first performed; it was found too learned and not tuneful enough. The problem was that Gounod’s music was in a different style from French grand opéra to which audiences were used; it was an early opéra lyrique. Berlioz, however, admired the work, going so far as to use the word ‘masterpiece’. Reyer considered it ‘among the most beautiful works of the time; a work in which inspiration and beauties of the first order erase very light imperfections’.

The audience did not embrace ‘Faust’ until the revised version of 1862. From that time, Gounod was seen as France’s leading opera composer. Its 500th Parisian performance took place in 1887, its 1,500th in 1912 and its 2,000th in 1934.

Trio final: ‘Alerte, alerte, ou vous êtes perdus’
Marguerite has been sentenced to death for murdering her baby. Faust has come to rescue her, but she is terror stricken when Méphistophèles appears, and commends her soul to Heaven. As Faust and Méphistophèles leave (or descend into hell), a chorus of angels proclaims that Marguerite has been saved.

Faust (tenor): Nicolai Gedda:
Méphistophèles (bass): Boris Christoff
Marguerite (soprano): Victoria de los Ángeles

Conductor : André Cluytens
Orchestre & Chœurs du Théâtre National de l’Opéra
Paris, 1958

Watch videos with other singers performing Alerte alerte ou vous perdus:

Libretto/Lyrics/Text/Testo:

MÉPHISTOPHÉLÈS
Alerte! alerte! ou vous êtes perdus!
Si vous tardez encor je ne m'en mêle plus!

MARGUERITE
Le démon! le démon! - Le vois-tu? ... là ... dans lombre
Fixant sur nous son œil de feu!
Que nous veut-il? - Chasse le du saint lieu!

MÉPHISTOPHÉLÈS
Quittons ce lieu sombre!
Le jour est levé
De leur pied sonore
J'entends nos chevaux frapper le pavé!
cherchant à entraîner Faust.
Viens! sauvons-la! Peut'être il en est temps encore.

MARGUERITE
Mon Dieu, protégez-moi!
Mon Dieu, je vous implore !

FAUST
Viens, fuyons!
Peut-être en est-il temps encore!

English Libretto or Translation:

MEPHISTOPHELES
Take care, or you are lost!
If you tarry any longer, I shall give you up!

MARGUERITE
The devil, the devil! Can you see him, there, in the dark!
Staring at us with his eyes of fire!
What does he want with us?
Drive him from the holy place!

MEPHISTOPHELES
Let us leave this dark spot!
It is daybreak;
I can hear our horses
Rap on the cobblestones with their noisy feet!
He tries to drag Faust away.
Come! Let us save her!
We may still have time!

MARGUERITE
Dear God, protect me!
Dear God, I beseech you!

FAUST
Come! Let us flee!
We may still have time!

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