© SLT / Tobias Witzgall


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Premiere: 16. November 2024 / Landestheater


“Two souls, alas, reside within my breast!” – This is one of the most famous lines from Goethe’s “Faust”. It is not only the best possible description of an inner struggle, but can also be read as a suggestion to interpret Faust and Mephisto as two sides of one and the same person: two principles that sometimes join forces and sometimes wage war on each other. On the one hand we have Faust, the scholar suffering from the all too narrow constrictions of science who would like to be a God so that he might create a new humanity and thus also re-create himself; on the other hand there is Mephisto, the gambler and con artist who knows how to deceive people and personifies the licence to transgress.

Carl Philip von Maldeghem uses the fluid identity of these two characters to retell a great theatre classic once more. Ever since he gave his debut as the artistic director of the Salzburg State Theatre with his staging of “Faust I” fifteen years ago and subsequently presented “Faust II”, he has been fascinated with the material. His ambitious goal is to enable audiences to experience “Faust I and II” in one evening. Only this time, the challenge is not to stage the work in its impressive entirety, but rather to generate a compacted version. This new approach to exploring Faust focuses on the essence of its characters and plot, i.e. on what “binds” this masterpiece and “guides its course”.

The poet, politician and natural scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) continued to write and rewrite the story of Faust throughout his literary career, thus creating a fictional alter ego that reflects his personal gaining of insights in many spheres, from art and science to human tragedy and global politics.

The two thoroughbred actors Gregor Schulz and Nikola Jaritz-Rudle embody Faust and Mephisto. Christian Floeren, who has created more than 300 stage and costume designs – for instance for the Istanbul State Opera and the Vienna State Opera – is a regular collaborator of Carl Philip von Maldeghem.