Werther_Juan Diego Flórez
Le Bailli_Cheyne Davidson
Cornelius Meister, musical direction
Tatjana Gürbaca, stage director
Klaus Grünberg, light design
Silke Willrett, costume design
Claus Spahn, dramaturgy
Kinderchor der Oper Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Forbidden love, wrongdoings and anguish: the Opernhaus Zürich ventures into late 19th-century French romanticism with “Werther“ by French composer Jules Massenet. A loose adaptation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s epistolary novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, the opera is conducted by Germany’s Cornelius Meister. It tells the story of the impossible union of poet Werther to Charlotte, a woman of duty already promised to a wealthy businessman.
Goethe’s drama is echoed in Massenet’s score by emotionally wide-ranging vocal parts written on a grand scale. Juan Diego Flórez is undisputedly one of the best belcanto tenors of our times and embodies a tortured and nuanced Werther. “It’s not a profane appearance of any singer – it is an epiphany!” gushes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in a rave review. At Flórez’s side, Franco-British mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany sang her role début as Charlotte. The one-room staging by Tatjana Gürbaca cleverly makes the social stranglehold of oppression tangible. Should one come into the fold or escape?
Recorded at the Opernhaus Zürich,