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<<  -- 3 --  Robert Anderson    DIVIDED LOYALTIES

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Charlotte, I fear, shows herself an inveterate ditherer. She foolishly promised her dying mother she would marry Adrian Eröd as Albert, and now she is swept almost off her feet by the urgency of Werther's pleading. Albert's six-month absence has been too long for her to resist Werther emotionally, even if in this production he seems the less eligible of the two. There is nothing in this Werther of Goethe's urbane melancholy, a man in princely favour and destined for diplomatic success. But there is no doubt he can protest his love with sufficient vehemence to fire Charlotte for a passionate duet [listen -- 'Rêve ... Extase ... Bonheur!' (Act 1), chapter 14, 0:00-0:56].

Adrian Eröd as Albert with Elina Garanca as Charlotte at the start of Act 2. DVD screenshot © 2005 ORF
Adrian Eröd as Albert with Elina Garanca as Charlotte at the start of Act 2. DVD screenshot © 2005 ORF

At the beginning of Act 2, Albert and Charlotte have been married three months. It is hardly a success, and Albert is well aware of Charlotte's divided loyalties. She does her best to rally round and play the contented wife [listen -- 'Trois mois! Voici trois mois' (Act 2), chapter 17, 0:44-1:41]. Perhaps Massenet is at his happiest when portraying Charlotte's relationship with her younger sister, Ileana Tonca's impulsive Sophie. Both have been smitten by Werther [listen -- 'Bonjour, grande sœur!' (Act 3), chapter 30, 0:44-1:28]. Werther realises he is already doomed, even though Charlotte has suggested he might return at Christmas, presumably for an unhappy family reunion.

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Copyright © 16 February 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

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