Massenet’s Werther from the Montreal Opera

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

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This one might be considered Jules Massenet’s "other opera." His Manon is more famous, but Werther is beginning to get the wider attention it surely deserves. Based on a trendsetting, early novel by Goethe, the opera is the story of a man whose lost love proves more vital to him than life itself.

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents Massenet's Werther in an unusual production from the Montreal Opera, starring baritone Phillip Addis. The drama's title role was originally written for a tenor, and it's now regarded as one of the great tenor roles in all of opera. But the famous Italian baritone Mattia Battistini was so taken with the opera that he asked the composer if the role might be re-written for a baritone. Massenet took him up on it, and created a new version of the opera, especially for Battistini, in 1902.

The Montreal production is led by conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni and also features mezzo-soprano Michèle Lozier as Charlotte, with soprano Suzanne Rigden as Sophie.

Cast:

Conductor: Jean-Marie Zeitouni

Werther: Phillip Addis (baritone)

Charlotte: Michèle Lozier (mezzo-soprano)

Sophie: Suzanne Rigden (soprano)

Albert: Stephen Hegedus (baritone)

The Bailiff: Alain Coulombe (bass)

Schmidt: Riccardo Ianello (tenor)

Johann: Normand Richard (baritone)

Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Le Petis Chanteurs du Mont-Royal

Les Voix Boréales

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