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Werther

Jules Massenet

Don't miss this season's big event: Juan Diego Flórez and Joyce DiDonato re-enact the impossible love of Werther and Charlotte


Lyrical drama in four acts (1892)
Lilbretto by Edouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann, after The Sufferings of the Young Werther by Goethe

Jacques Lacombe  direction

Juan Diego Flórez  Werther
Joyce DiDonato  Charlotte
John Chest  Albert
Luc Bertin-Hugault  Le Bailly
Valentina Naforniţă  Sophie
Nicolas Rivenq  Johan
Marc Larcher  Schmidt

Orchestre National de France
Maîtrise de Radio France 

It has long been acknowledged that love stories in opera are not always a great success. When Goethe published The Sufferings of the Young Werther, the story of Charlotte and her suitor was such a hit that it stimulated what was termed “Werther mania”, driving young people, prepared to go to any lengths to imitate the romantic heroes, to commit suicide. Over a century later, at the height of French Romanticism, Massenet drew inspiration from this story of thwarted love and used it to create his major work. After a period of relative oblivion, recent productions have restored the full power of this work, whose tortured hero seeks the solution to his impossible love in death. The score offers magnificent duets for Werther and Charlotte, torn between their desire for happiness and respect for the intransigent social and family conventions which the young woman cannot transcend. Massenet exploits the full resources of the large symphonic orchestra to create an intimate and pervasive atmosphere, which is best illustrated in the magnificent aria “Why do you awaken me, o breath of spring”, the “hit”, as it were, from Massenet’s most sensitive opera.



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