Werther New York: An Incomparable Love Story Comes to Life
With its passionate tale of star-crossed love and its
haunting melodic score, "Werther" is a favorite of opera lovers around the world. In this new production, contemporary audiences
can enjoy the sweeping romance of this three-handkerchief love story.
The story of "Werther" takes place
in Frankfurt during the 1780s. The Bailiff's young and beautiful daughter, Charlotte, meets a young visiting poet, Werther,
at a local ball. Her fiancée Albert has not yet arrived, so Charlotte spends the time getting to know Werther; as a result,
he is passionately in love with her by the end of the evening. He confesses his love, but also tells Charlotte that she must
stay true to her fiancée.
Three months pass, and Charlotte, who has married Albert, meets Werther again. He can't get
over his love for Charlotte, and has lost the will to live. As he talks of suicide, others, including Albert's sister Sophie,
try to console him. During this time, Albert realizes the truth: Werther is deeply in love with his wife.
by, and it's Christmas Eve. Charlotte is reading the love letters that the devastated Werther has sent her, when he suddenly
appears. Again, he speaks of death, and as Charlotte pleads with him to stop, he realizes that she loves him as he loves her.
He embraces her, but she flees from him. Resolving to kill himself, he sends a messenger to Albert asking to borrow his pistols.
In his jealousy, Albert, who realizes by Charlotte's reaction that she must love Werther, forces her to give his pistols to
the messenger, and Charlotte resolves to save Werther from death. Will Charlotte get there in time, or will it be too late?
This production of "Werther" stars German tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role. Kaufmann is well-known
to Met audiences for his performances as Don Carlos, Don Jose in "Carmen" and Cavaradossi in "Tosca." Also in the cast as
Charlotte is French mezzo Sophie Koch, who has performed major roles in leading opera houses around the world.
"Werther" is based upon "The Sorrows of Werther," a novel written in 1774 by the great German novelist Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe. The book made an international superstar of Goethe, who went on to become one of the most famous novelists
of his generation.
This operatic version was written in 1892 by the French composer Jules Massenet and the librettists
Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann (under the pseudonym Henri Grémont).
produced by the acclaimed British opera, film and theater director Richard Eyre, who is perhaps best-known for directing the
movies "Iris" and "Notes on a Scandal," as well as the Broadway production of "Mary Poppins." In addition, Eyre has directed
new productions of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and Bizet's "Carmen" at the Met.
When the original
novel "The Sorrows of Werther" was published, it was considered one of the most important novels of its era. Its publication
launched the Romantic literary movement that subsequently flourished throughout Europe. Perhaps not surprisingly given its
popularity, "Werther" is not the first opera based on the novel; there were also earlier operatic versions by composers Rodolphe
Kreutzer and Vincenzo Pucitta.
The first American production of "Werther" was performed by the Metropolitan Opera company
when they were on tour in Chicago in 1894. The opera is a favorite among male singers because the leading role of Werther
can be sung by either a tenor or a baritone.
"Werther" continues its run throughout the season at the
Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 2014. If you're interested in purchasing Werther New York tickets, keep an eye out
for events in your area!