Avant de Quitter ces Lieux from Faust (Solo Trombone and 5 Trombones)



One of the most famous settings of Johann Wolfgang van Goethe’s Faust is that of Charles Gounod. Gounod’s opera is the eighth most produced opera in the Metropolitan Opera’s history. Set in Germany during the 16th century, the aging Faust sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for youth. In Faust’s quest for a second life, he seduces Marguerite and has an illegitimate child with her. The opera comes to a bloody end when Valentine (Marguerite’s brother) returns from war and is slain by Faust.

Marguerite is able to avoid the Devil’s grasp because at the last minute Faust sacrifices himself to save Marguerite’s soul. Valentine sings Avant de Quitter ces Lieux, early in Act II before he leaves for war. Valentine is asking God to watch over his sister while Valentine is headed to battle. The aria is filled with the passion of any young soldier headed to war. The conversation with God is pure when he is asking for his sister’s protection. The music is more lively when Valentine is asking for glory in battle, and turns dark as he realizes he might die. The return of the theme is filled with the heaviness of death and the powerful glory of God.