• Faust Classroom Activity

The activities in this guide address various aspects of Faust:

  • The interaction of plot and character development in the opera
  • Issues of ethics and personal responsibility in the protagonists’ behavior
  • The use of the chorus to represent society
  • The historical context of Faust and of this Live in HD production
  • The production as a unified work of art, involving creative decisions by the artists of the Metropolitan Opera

The guide is intended to cultivate students’ interest in Faust whether or not they have any prior acquaintance with opera. It includes activities for students with a wide range of musical backgrounds, seeking to encourage them to think about opera—and the performing arts in general—as a medium of entertainment and as creative expression.

Turning Points: A Close Look at the Development of Plot and Character in Faust

At first sight, there would seem to be little room for ambiguity when it comes to a man making a deal with the devil. Yet the particular events in Gounod, Barbier, and Carré’s version of Faust bring serious questions of personal responsibility and ethical behavior into its classic supernatural framework. In this Classroom Activity, students will track the developing relationship of Faust and Marguerite, first predicting, then evaluating its turns. They will:

  • become acquainted with the basic structure of the Faust story
  • predict the behaviors of main characters at key junctures in the plot
  • participate in a class discussion, expressing personal points of view and citing evidence
  • listen to music from the opera to interpret and assess characters’ decisions
  • apply their own experience and ethical principles to the situations in the opera
  • write persuasive essays evaluating the characters in light of the choices they make