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Massenet's 'Werther' -
reviewed by
ROBERT ANDERSON

'... much is ravishingly beautiful ...'

Jules Massenet: Werther. © 2005 ORF/TDK

Christmas always drives me to despair though not yet to suicide, mainly because of the cards I never send but feel I should answer. In this Vienna Staatsoper production on TDK, the Bailiff's six younger children seem to have been infinitely multiplied so that their rehearsal and performance of a relentless 'Noël, Noël' gives Werther additional reason to do himself in. Andrei Serban as producer has transferred Goethe's tale of the 1770s to the 1950s, preserving for the woebegone hero a blue jacket of traditional 'Wertherism', but rejecting the yellow trousers. He and the designer Peter Pabst have plumped for a uniset staging of the opera.

Sophie (Ileana Tonca) and the children in Act 1 of Massenet's 'Werther'. DVD screenshot © 2005 ORF
Sophie (Ileana Tonca) and the children in Act 1 of Massenet's 'Werther'. DVD screenshot © 2005 ORF

 

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Copyright © 16 February 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

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Cadenza Programme Note Library - Programme Notes by Mike Wheeler