Opera Explained: Massenet’s Werther (Audiobook CD)

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Description

Opera Explained: Massenet’s Werther (Audiobook CD)

Composer: Jules Massenet
Author: Thomson Smillie
Narrator: David Timson
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Naxos
Run Time: 79 minutes

Massenet’s Werther combines a deeply tender story with music of beauty and eloquence. One act alone contains two of the greatest arias in the repertoire: the mezzo-soprano aria “Va! Laisse couler mes larmes” and the tenor’s “Pourquoi me rèveiller.” In their sentimental power and melodic richness, these arias encapsulate the qualities that account for the universal popularity of this great work.

Opera Explained
This series introduces, in words and music, the plot and background of major operas. Using the principal themes and arias taken from the Naxos recording of the complete work, Thomson Smillie is informative yet entertaining, enabling the listener to get more from this remarkable art form.



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History

Jules Massenet's Werther

Massenet’s adaptation of Goethe’s landmark novel The Sorrows of Young Werther had its premiere in Vienna in 1892 in a German translation and was seen at Paris’s Opéra Comique the following year. The Met gave the first American performance on tour in Chicago in March 1894. Together with Manon and Thaïs, Werther remains the only of Massenet’s almost 40 operas to hold a permanent place in the repertoire. A new production, directed by Richard Eyre and starring Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch, opens in the Met’s 2013–14 season.

 

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