Two itinerant young men, James and Richard, lose their way and become stranded on a mountain in the dead of a stormy night. As if by magic a beautiful mansion appears. An old man emerges, bent beneath a weight of sorrows and tells the travellers that he gained his wonderful house and all of his riches via an imp, which is imprisoned inside a magical bottle.
The imp will grant all of its owner‘s wishes, but there are two conditions. If the owner dies in possession of the bottle, they will burn in Hell for all eternity. The second condition is that the bottle must always be sold for less than it was bought for. The price is already dangerously low.
The imp conjures James a property empire. He sells the bottle to Richard, who sets off to wish himself a fortune. Catherine arrives as Richard departs. She and James fall in love and get married. Everything is perfect. They are young, rich and eager to start a family. But when Catherine becomes dangerously ill, James is faced with a choice. He can watch his young wife die, or buy back the bottle at an even lower price and risk eternal damnation. A tale of love, sacrifice and addiction ensues. The price of the bottle drops ever lower, the imp grows angrier and more eager to escape. Damnation awaits someone, but who will it be?
The Devil Inside was inspired by The Bottle Imp, a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. The opera contains many elements of Stevenson‘s famous shilling shocker, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.