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The mysterious Mephistopheles promises to make all of the aging  Faust’s wishes come true – in exchange for his soul.

Charles Gounod’s opera, which was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous tragedy, saw its world premier in Paris in 1859.

Isabella Bywater’s production, referencing Goethe over the more romantic style of Gounod, took place in a crumbling ‘house’ set, backed by a peeled paper projection screen. We created footage from a variety of sources, many of which were real paintings recoloured and animated to slowly crawl or creep over the backdrop, creating a shifting oil-painting effect.

Filmed characters were shot in Russia and inserted into various scenes, projected onto gauze windows as the aging Faust spies on teenage Margarete next door.

A co-design with Nina Dunn, the production opened in the old Mariinsky building in April 2013, transferring to the new Mariinsky 2 building in June.

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