Werther at DKT – Old Stage – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Jules Massenet|Lyrics:Edouard Blau,Paul Millet and Georges Hartmann, after Goethe.
Premiere at; Courtopera in Vienna den 16 februari 1892. Seen the performance: 3.12.2002 Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen
July in Wetzlar. Le Bailli is at home rehearsing Christmas carols with the children. His friends Johan and Schmidt visit, and are amused by this curious pastime. The death of Le Bailli’s wife has left Charlotte,their elder daughter, in charge of the younger children and bound by a promise to her mother to marry Albert, a conventional young man who has been away for several months as the opera begins. Charlotte prepares to attend a dance with the young poet Werther. While they are at the ball Albert returns and asks Sophie if he was longed for during his absence. Sophie assures him that he was, and in this way Albert feels that Charlotte’s love for him is confirmed. Charlotte and Werther return.Werther is by now completely absorbed by his feelings for Charlotte,but her thoughts of her late mother prevent her from giving vent to her feelings for him. Their mood is shattered when Le Bailli announces Abert’s return. Werther declares he will die if Charlotte marries Albert.
September. Charlotte and Albert have been married for three months, but their happiness is not genuine. Werther is unable to forget his loss of his one sacred love, and Albert’s comforting words do not help – but make the wound even worse. Even Sophie, secretly in love and full of joie de vivre, cannot cheer up Werther. He is drawn irresistibly to Charlotte, but a short exchange of words makes it absolutely clear that Charlotte puts her duty before her love for Werther. She begs him to go away.
On Christmas Eve Charlotte, rereading Werther’s letters, realises that her suppressed feelings for him have at last emerged. Werther suddenly appears and evokes an expression of love from Charlotte,vho can no longer resist. They embrace, but Charlotte soon comes to her senses and once more puts duty before her true feelings. She bids Werther goodbye forever, and he leaves the house completely broken.Albert enters, and realises that Chariotte in fact is in love Werther. He finds a note from Werther, asking to borrow Albert’s pistols for a journey.
Albert grants him his wish.
The same evening. Charlotte rushes to Werther’s apartments only to find him dying. At last she admits her love for him as he dies in her arms. The children are heard singing their Christmas carols in the distance…