- Auditorium, Orchestre national de Lyon
whose1 intermission (s) 20 min
- In French
The controversial adaptation by Jules Massenet of Goethe's first — and hugely successful — novel. A lyrical drama about the complexity of emotions which reaches the very summit of romanticism, it has become a popular classic.
When Werther falls for Charlotte, the daughter of the Bailiff of Wetzlar, she is moved by his moonlight declaration of love, but has already promised her dying mother to marry Albert. Bewildered, Werther writes passionate letters to his sweetheart who finally rejects him after a single kiss, prompting his suicide.
When it was published in 1774, The Sorrows of Young Werther met with both critical acclaim and controversy. And with good reason: Goethe was accused of promoting suicide, seen as the ultimate romantic gesture but still a taboo subject in polite society. Jules Massenet's adaptation found it just as difficult to gain acceptance. It was with some difficulty that he worked for a decade on this opera, which finally had its première in Vienna — in German — in 1892. The work would eventually be performed — reluctantly — in French in Paris on the back of its Austrian success. Massenet and his librettist Edouard Blau took some liberties with Goethe's work to deliver an opera where tragedy meets comedy and gravity, lightness, and where passion finally ends in peaceful serenity. Under the baton of Daniele Rustioni, we can count on the Opéra de Lyon orchestra and an excellent cast (Simon Keenlyside as Werther, Stéphanie d'Oustrac as Charlotte, Jean-Sébastien Bou, Florie Valiquette) to deliver a glowing interpretation of this score, beautifully underscoring the emotional confusion.
A co-production with the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
In partnership with the Auditorium — Orchestra National de Lyon
Louis De Lavignère
Orchestre, Maîtrise et Studio de l'Opéra de Lyon