Mefistofele makes a wager with heaven that he can prove there is not one redeemable man in the whole world, and he means to do so by tempting the most scholarly and most pious man he can think of: Doctor Faust himself. He visits Faust on Easter Sunday, and makes him an offer: in exchange for his soul, Mefistofele will give Faust everything he desires. Faust immediately accepts.
Stepping onto Mefistofele’s magic cloak, the two of them embark on an adventure where Faust will fall in love again and again, and have everything his heart desires. Faust is returned to his youth, and together they witness a Witches’ Sabbath, and join Helen of Troy in Elysium. But, ultimately, it was all in vain. The more Faust experiences, the more empty it all seems. He returns to his books, with the conviction that he should never have left them, and it is there he dies, offering himself to god. As in Goethe’s original, Faust is accepted into heaven, and Mefistofele is left with nothing.
Boito’s Mefistofele is an operatic feast of choruses, dances, satanic ritual, and heavenly rapture.
Mefistofele guide sections