Massenet’s Werther is a tragic tale of unrealised and forbidden passion between a dutiful wife (Charlotte) and her husband Albert’s best friend, Werther, whose final, violent resolution comes at that most emotionally loaded of times – Christmas. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is the original inspiration for Massenet, whose opera (like Goethe’s work) is itself a criticism of the cult of sensibility which Werther represents, something which was tragically misunderstood within Goethe’s own lifetime and sparked a suicide cult across Germany, to Goethe’s frustration.
With exceptional acting, stunning costumes, and strong singing to a simple piano accompaniment, Aylin Bozok’s modern and minimalist production of Werther at Grimeborn is breathlessly romantic, and searing in its intensity.
Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.
Suggested further resources:
- In Our Time – Goethe (BBC Radio 4 Podcast)
- Massenet as Composer of the Week (BBC Radio 3)
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