Afternoon on 3 Thursday Opera Matinee - Arrigo Boito - Mefistofele.m4a

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Arrigo Boito - Mefistofele

Afternoon on 3, Thursday Opera Matinee

Katie Derham presents Boito's Mefistofele, recorded last year at the Bavarian State Opera, featuring a renowned trio of soloists - René Pape takes the title role, with Joseph Calleja as Faust and Kristine Opolais as Margherita.

Best known as an opera librettist, this is Arrigo Boito's only completed opera as a composer. Inspired by Goethe's version of the Faust legend and the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, he places the devil as the main protagonist, creating one of the great bass-baritone roles in opera.

Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele

Mefistofele ..... René Pape (bass)
Faust ..... Joseph Calleja (tenor)
Margherita ..... Kristine Opolais (soprano)
Marta ..... Heike Grötzinger (contralto)
Wagner ..... Andrea Borghini (tenor)
Elena ..... Karine Babajanyan (soprano)
Pantalis ..... Rachael Wilson (contralto)
Nerèo ..... Joshua Owen Mills (tenor)

The Children's Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera
The Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera
The Orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera
Omer Meir Wellber (conductor).



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.

Act I

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.

Act II


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.



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.

Act IV


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.

- With thanks to the Bavarian State Opera.

Broadcast: 12 May 2016
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Apple audio with iTunes info
Codec ID : M4A (isom/iso2)
File size : 345 MiB
Duration : 2h 30mn
Overall bit rate mode : Constant
Overall bit rate : 322 Kbps

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Duration : 2h 30mn
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 320 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Frame rate : 46.875 fps (1024 spf)
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 344 MiB (100%)
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Afternoon on 3 Thursday Opera Matinee - Arrigo Boito - Mefistofele.m4a