Gounod’s “Faust” is a fantastic opera. The music and story are equally passionate. The first time I heard it, I was a junior in college. A friend and I went to see it at the local performing arts center. And I have to admit, I giggled through most of the first act.
If you’re not familiar, “Faust” is the story of a man who sells his soul for the love of a woman. It goes rather badly thereafter, but the first act is all about this negotiation.
So, as the opera opens, we see Faust as an old man bemoaning all the things he’s missed out on in life. He goes on and on and on about how he wants to be young again. Young and in love. Love love love. Want want want. Cue Méphistophélès.
Méphistophélès (basically ‘the Devil’) shows up and offers Faust the promise of romantic love in exchange for his soul. (When I saw it, Méphistophélès was played by a man with the deepest, most delicious ‘evil laugh’ I’ve ever heard.)
Anyway, my giggling came about because of what Faust was saying. He wants love. Romantic love. Lots of descriptions about the beauty and physicality of young love. This made the snarkier corners of my mind suspicious: So, basically…he just wants to be young so he can get laid…
At which point I had to stifle a snicker: They make pills for that now.