Opéra Bastille - from 20 January to 04 February 2016
3h05 with 2 intervals
In few words:
"Why tremble before death, before our own demise? The curtain rises... and we pass to the other side. Do we offend heaven by ceasing to suffer?"
- Werther, Act II
“Nothing is more moving than this combination of pain and meditation, introspection and delirium portraying the unfortunate man contemplating himself in thought and succumbing to pain; directing his imagination towards himself; strong enough to watch himself suffer and yet incapable of bringing any relief to his tormented soul.” So wrote Madame de Staël in 1800. Fourteen years later, in De l’Allemagne, she restated her admiration for Werther and “all that Goethe’s genius could produce when he was passionate.”
Even though more than a century separates the publication of the novel from the creation of Massenet’s operatic drama, the composer remains faithful to Goethe’s truly personal literary model and captures the palpable signs of nascent romanticism – that Sturm und Drang whose turmoil would liberate all that was intimate.
In a discreet Clair de lune, the orchestra murmurs the silent empathy of two people holding each other by the arm for fear that their hands or their hearts might touch, until finally, in a febrile outburst of fervour, the tears of Charlotte, embodied by ElĪna Garanča, release the impassioned lyricism of inevitably doomed love.