Massenet's Werther

Tatjana Gürbaca (stage director), Cornelius Meister (conductor) – With Juan Diego Flórez (Werther), Anna Stephany (Charlotte)...

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Tatjana Gürbaca — Stage director

Klaus Grünberg — Stage design

Silke Willrett — Costume designer

Juan Diego Flórez — Werther

Anna Stéphany — Charlotte

Audun Iversen — Albert

Mélissa Petit — Sophie

Kinderchor und SoprAlti der Oper Zürich

Ernst Raffelsberger — Chorus director

Philharmonia Zürich

Cornelius Meister

Program notes

Every detail of Massenet’s chef d’œuvre—a sort of Eugene Onegin “à la française”—is perfectly in place in Tatjana Gürbaca’s 2018 Werther: its naiveté (Act 1’s scenes of childhood), humor (Charlotte’s making fun of the elderly ladies she visits in Act 2), romanticism (settings of moonlight and stormy nights), and intense melancholy (Charlotte’s profound despair at Werther’s tomb). 

Taking cues from Massenet’s nuanced score, Gürbaca sets the opera’s action in a parlor resembling the interior of a small wooden box: a real-life cabinet of curiosities, with the bare minimum of props (a clock, a cupboard, shelves, a trunk) leaving the central area of the stage empty to be occasionally traversed by a moonbeam, the arriving light of dawn, or falling snowflakes… The space is filled by Juan Diego Flórez’s Werther, whose sunny voice and magnetic presence complement Anna Stéphany’s blossoming Charlotte, maturing from a timid girl into a woman of staggering humanity.

A closer look: composers and works

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