The opera was written about a century after the epistolary novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, on which it is based. Massenet masterfully evokes the poetic nature of the idealist Werther and of Charlotte, a young woman trapped by social convention. Like Goethe’s Faust (which gained widespread recognition mainly after Gounod’s adaptation for the opera), Werther captured the hearts and minds of the public after being set to music by the French composer. Massenet’s opera was hugely successful; it was translated into numerous languages and had a widespread impact, influencing everything from the ethos to the fashions of the time.
The operatic version of Werther follows its own rules, with essential departures from the original text. While maintaining the theme of challenging prevalent conventions, it puts aside Goethe’s philosophical quandaries. The story of the star-crossed lovers described by Goethe inspired the French composer to pen a score of great lyricism and rare tenderness, with grand dramatic outbursts.
The production is directed by the acclaimed theatre director and academic Spyros A. Evangelatos. Sets and costumes are by Yorgos Patsas while GNO’s Orchestra is conducted by Ilias Voudouris.
For more info: www.nationalopera.gr
Photos: © Marilena Stafilidou
|Dates: 11-13/04/2014, 26-27/04/2014, 30/04/2014, 02-03/05/2014. Place: Athens. Venue: Greek National Opera, Olympia Theatre, 59-61 Akadimias St. Start. T.: 20:00|