Werther at Royal Opera in Stockholm – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Jules Massenet|Lyrics:Edouard Blau,Paul Millet and Georges Hartmann, after Goethe|
First performance at Hovoperan in Vienna on the 16 of Februari 1892. Seen the performance on: 17.03.2011 Royal Opera in Stockholm
The action takes place near Frankfurt between July and December in about 178…
The Bailiff’s home
_ One July afternoon, the Bailiff is rehearsing a Christmas song with his youngest children when he is visited by his two cronies, Schnnidt and Johann. who remind him is promise to meet them at a nearby inn. They speak of the dance to be held that night to which Charlotte, the Bailiff’s eldest daughter, has been invited. She 5 to be escorted by the young Werther, a ewcomer to the little town for whom the Bailiff has conceived the greatest admiration. Ichmidt and Johann, on the other hand, describe Werther as a romantic dreamer, quite unlike Albert,Charlotte’s husband-to-be, who is away on a journey.
Once the Bailiff has promised to join them later, Schmidt and Johann leave. Presently Werther arrives to fetch Charlotte; 3 has not met her before and is immediately taken with her. He also introduces himself to Charlotte’s fifteen-year-old sister Sophie. The Bailiff ex-plains to Werther that he is a widower of some years’ standing and that Charlotte has had the children in her charge since their mother’s death. At dusk Albert returns. He has been away for six months ind is eager to find out whether Charlotte has missed him. Sophie tells him that 3r sister is not at home but that preparations ire under way for the couple’s wedding. Albert bids his future sister-in-law farewell
Night falls, and Werther and Charlotte return in the moonlight completely taken up with each other nd the spiritual bond that unites them. The romantic mood is cruelly interrupted, however, by ie Bailiff’s cry that Albert has returned. Horrified Charlotte realises that in Werther’s company she has broken the vow she gave her dying mother – to marry Albert. Downcast she leaves Werther.
Albert and Charlotte have now been married for three months and are apparently blissfully happy together. As Charlotte enters the church. Albert takes the opportunity of telling Werther that he can quite underStand that Werther might once have hoped for Charlotte’s love; Werther replies that he will be content if he can be friends with them both. They are interrupted by the arrival of Sophie, who, radiantly happy, asks Werther for a dance at the feast which is about to take place.
Albert suggests that Sophie might be a suitable object for Werther’s attentions. Alone again, Werther realises that he has not been honest with Albert but does indeed love Charlotte. As he is about to take his leave, Charlotte comes out of the church and Werther declares his love for her. Coldly, Charlotte rebuffs him; ;he is Albert’s wife, she says, and begs him to go. Then, seeing his despair, she promises him that she will see him again at Christmas.
Charlotte and Werther
It is the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Charlotte is re-reading Werther’s letters. In his last letter Werther has hinted darkly at suicide.Sophie arrives, worried that Charlotte now seems to care little about her father and her younger brothers and sisters. All Sophie’s efforts to cheer her up fail, and when she refers to Werther Charlotte cannot hold back her tears. After Sophie has left, Charlotte prays to God to give her strength. Suddenly, Werther himself appears in the doorway.
Their heartrending reunion proves too much for Charlotte; she now can no longer deny her feelings, though when she recovers her composure she is seized with panic and hastens into her chamber. Werther implores her to come out but is met with an icy silence. He departs. Albert returns. He calls to Charlotte, who seems agitated upon seeing her husband. A servant hands Albert a note. It is from Werther, requesting the loan of Albert’s pistols for the long journey that is ahead of him. Albert orders Charlotte to hand over the pistols to the servant. Once Albert has left the room, Charlotte is struck with the significance of the message and rushes out into the night.
The night of Christmas Eve, symphonic entr’acte Werther´s death
Charlotte finds Werther mortally wounded. He regains consciousness for a short moment and on hearing that Charlotte has loved him from the moment they met and dies in her arms.
Director Ann-Margret Pettersson. Translation Alan Imber