Synopsis: Der feurige Engel

from Sergej Prokofjew

The fiery angel

Renata believes that she has a protecting angel called Madiel. She has been living with Prince Heinrich - whom she believed to be Madiel - but he has left her and now she spends her time looking for him. She explains her situation to Ruprecht, who is in love with her and agrees to help her.

Renata and Ruprecht consult books of black magic in their quest for the prince. In the process they conjure evil spirits. A leading sorcerer, Agrippa, refuses to help them.

Renata catches up with Heinrich but he rejects her for a second time. Incensed, she urges Ruprecht to defend her honour and he challenges the prince to a duel. However, Renata sees the prince bathed in a flood of light and again thinks that he must be Madiel. Concerned, she urges Ruprecht not to hurt him. As a consequence he is himself badly wounded. Struck by remorse she promises to love him and nurse him back to health.

Ruprecht recovers and Renata leaves him, telling him that she intends to enter a convent, where she thinks she can find salvation. Ruprecht is met by Faust and Mephistopheles, and the latter offers to protect him.

Renata is still obsessed with Madiel and she has brought her visions with her to the convent. She has also brought demons and spirits, who terrorize the nuns. She is sent before the Inquisition who fail to exorcize her evil spirits. In the presence of Ruprecht and Mephistopheles, Renata is sentenced to death as a witch.