2015-10-25 Werther (Massenet), Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich

Werther = Rolando Villazón
Charlotte = Angela Brower
Sophie = Hanna-Elisabeth Müller
Albert = Michael Nagy
Le Bailli = Christoph Stephinger
Schmidt = Kevin Conners  
Johann = Tim Kuypers  
Brühlmann = Johannes Kammler  
Käthchen = Anna Rajah

Asher Fisch, conductor

Production, Set, Lighting Concept
and Costumes - Jürgen Rose
Mitarbeit Inszenierung - Franziska Severin  
Lighting - Michael Bauer  
Children Chorus - Stellario Fagone  
Dramaturgy - Ingrid Zellner   
I believed as I was sitting in Nationaltheater, Munich, that at home I have a DVD with this same production but from Vienna. The reality was that I was in Munich for premiere in 2006 with Sophie Koch and Marcelo Alvarez and that Vienna and the DVD is another production. Stranger still that even with booklet showing Koch and Alvarez I did not remember that I was there for the premiere in Munich.

Werther in Vienna had really set its mark on me and the Munich production had vanished. Marcelo Alvarez was amazing and so was Sophie Koch. But that was 2006 and now it is 2015 and it is Rolando Villazon and Angela Brower. Earlier this year I saw them as Hoffmann and Nicklausse in Les Contes d'Hoffmann and they were absolutely marvelous.

Rolando Villazon is an amazing actor and has a wonderful tenor voice but this day (2015-10-25) his voice would not always come out the right way especially in the higher notes. It was painful to hear his voice "glitch" but always he was Werther. Angela Brower was Charlotte, a woman who is full of life but unfortunately she has promised to marry dull Albert. Her sister is also in love with Werther but she also seem to genuinely like Albert where Charlotte has to struggle to be accept being near him and dislikes to be touched by Albert. Solution Charlotte should have married Werther and Albert could have Sophie. Probability higher for happiness for sure.  

This production of Werther made it into 1940-60s or something. It was just an update that gave us nothing. Werther is always writing and in the middle of the scene is a big stone and there is Werther's writing desk. Always is the production trying to remind us that the original novel was a novel made of letters from Werther etc (I haven't read the novel by Goethe). The walls are filled with the scribblings of Werther. But what does that give us, the spectators. The revolving stage is used too much and means seldom much. Only as we see Charlotte desperate to come in time to save Werther is the revolving stage used to help us see, the stage going in the wrong direction this we see Charlotte struggling and it gets real for use, too.

In the personregie it is much better. One can believe this people. The children are adorable and this time the father is played as one who are their loving father and not just a father who lets his oldest daughters to be the parents. This children already have one parent even though they have lost their mother. The two elder sister are helping out. Albert is nice enough but he wants Charlotte to just say she is as happy as him, he does not want the truth. She never wanted him but Albert understand Charlotte so little that he thinks that if Charlotte loves another man she would naturally be unfaithful to her husband. Albert and Werther, i do not understand them, what a weird friendship.
This page was last updated: January 9, 2017