In a city of the north coast of Spain, a young teacher teaches Greek lessons at an elite private school. He is a romantic and melancholy man, who lives alone in the old house of his sailor ancestors on the other side of the bay.
Werther is not an opera I've known for very long, but what an opera it is. With characters that are interesting, music as perfect as Pourquoi Me Reveiller and a story that has a strong emotional core at the end, how could you go wrong.
This production is wonderful. My only complaint really is the video directing, some of it is good, but at other times it is weird and distracting with a lot of close ups focusing too much one person and not enough on the person/people reacting and unfortunately the whole behind the scenes idea reminded me this was only a performance when all I wanted to be engage with the story and characters.
Luckily, apart from the video directing, I was able to engage with the story, the ending had me in buckets, and the characters compelled me and played true to what they should've been. The costumes are evocative, the sets are minimalist but effective and the staging is not too stolid and not too drawn out either.
Musically, I can't fault this Werther. The orchestra are passionate and the conducting shows a lot of artistry. The performances are excellent. Sophie Koch has a wonderful voice, and the transition from innocent girl to strong woman for Charlotte is very well done and moving. Ludovic Tezier is suitably gentile Albert with a touch of menace too, altogether delightfully understated. The performance of Sophie is good even if the character got on my nerves sometimes.
Jonas Kaufmann is brilliant as Werther. His voice is beautiful, with a baritone-like tone complete with ringing high notes, he is handsome and he cuts a wonderful figure on stage. If his Pourquoi Me Reveiller doesn't move you to tears like it did me, then I am not really sure what will.
Overall, a very moving Werther and Kaufmann is simply brilliant. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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