Werther (1999)

Jules Massenet

2h 54 min
Spanish , French

Massenet compiled in an exemplary way the resources that help define the genre drame lyrique in the four-act Werther. The use of well-known storylines, in this case Goethe’s novel published in 1774, was the starting point of a repertoire that was not based as much on the creation of clearly-established characters between whom dramatic relationships develop but on verismo, craftily drawing upon prior images conjured by the story’s episodes or by illustrations, where musical values strictly predominated over theatrical values. The romantic despair of Goethe’s hero, with an impossible love leading to his suicide, is softened in the libretto by Blau, Milliet and Hartmann, confined to the everyday life and sentimental boundaries of the bourgeoisie.


Massenet recreates this setting admirably. The singing is perfectly adapted to the peculiar nature and accents of the French language, delivering its discourse with complete naturalness, the melody flowing softly without harmonic complexity, with careful and clear timbre providing restrained expression in line with the character’s feelings, which are also linked to a variety of motifs, on which the work progresses. Charlotte’s grand scene at the start of Act III stands out alongside the excellence and mastery of the protagonist’s arias, such as “Pourquoi me réveiller”.

Dramma lirico in four acts


Music by Jules Massenet (1842 - 1912)

Libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann, based on The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Coproduction of the Théâtre du Capitole of Toulouse and Los Angeles Music Center Opera

Production supported by France Telecom Fondation D’Enterprise

Escolanía Nuestra Señora del Recuerdo

Principal Orchestra of the Teatro Real


Artistic team

Conductor | Julius Rudel

Stage director | Nicolas Jöel

Stage manager, set and costume designer | Hubert Monloup

Lighting designer | Claude Beringuier

Characterizations | Jean-Claude Marchione

Répétiteurs | Patricia Bayer, Riccardo Bini, Gerard Talbot

Chorus master | César Sánchez



Werther | Ramón Vargas

Albert | Enrique Baquerizo

The Mayor | Jean-Philippe Courtis

Schmidt | José Ruiz

Johann | Miguel López Galindo

Charlotte | Carmen Oprisanu

Sophie | María José Moreno

Bruhlmann | Santiago Santana

Kathchen | Estrella Estévez

Fritz | Santiago Barreño Alcalde

Max | Alejandro Serna García

Hans | Fernando González Martín-Laborda

Karl | Marco Carosini Fleitas

Gretel | Idoia Carcamo Wucherpfennig/Iciar Rivier Lecea 

Clara | Paloma Castañón/Mª del Pilar Guillén Redondo

Director musical Julius Rudel

Director de escena Nicolas Jöel

Realizador escénico, escenógrafo y 

figurinista Hubert Monloup

Iluminador Claude Beringuier

Caracterizaciones Jean-Claude Marchione

Maestros repetidores Patricia Bayer · Riccardo Bini · Gerard Talbot 


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