Notes and half-formed thoughts on three performances from the closing weeks of the Royal Opera season are still hanging around, not set down for posterity. Since posterity likes completeness (not that it ever gets it), I’d better crack on. (more…)
I can’t compare the opera Werther to the Goethe novel The Sorrows of Young Werther on which it is based, on account of not having read it. However, given Goethe’s status in the annals of world literature, I can’t imagine it is a clunky and crude as Massenet’s presentation of the story.
Act 1 reminded me of all the reasons I disliked Manon. The preposterous turns of drama, linked to music which sounds gorgeous but appears to go nowhere. The end of Act 1 concludes with a frankly hilarious exchange, where the sweet nothings of our hero and heroine are interrupted by news of the arrival of the heroine’s betrothed, and the dialogue goes: “Ah, I forgot I promised to marry him.” “Then you must do that, and I must die.” Cue exit, Werther’s anguished cry of “Marry another!”, and down comes the curtain. (more…)