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Ensemble

A Masterly Performance

Massenet's 'Werther'
on the psychotherapist's couch,
by GIUSEPPE PENNISI

 

'Boys do not cry', a long-standing proverb says. Yet, correctly, the musicologist Arhur Holberg writes that when in 1775 or thereabouts, Goethe's novel The Sorrow of Young Werther was published, even though it was in rough Germany, on its way to forming an Empire, 'weeping in public became fashionable for men and the more elegant gentlemen around town began to sport blue frock coats, yellow waistcoats, and leather breeches in imitation of the lovelorn hero'. Chronicles of the time even added that young men carefully preserved their lachrymose effluences in crystal vials to prove that they had experienced fathomable melancholy. The novel took Europe by storm as it captured the spirit of the age: the end of Neo-Classicism and the jump start of Romanticism.

You bet: opera houses could not but catch up with The Sorrow of Young Werther...

Copyright © 27 April 2010 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy

-------

JULES MASSENET

WERTHER

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

PARMA

ITALY

FRANCE

GERMANY

AUSTRIA

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