Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Suicidal French Poet Pursues Married Woman in 1892

Werther is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann based on the German epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Although Massenet wrote and completed his opera in 1887, it did not receive any performance until it premiered at the Imperial Theatre Hofoper in Vienna on February 16, 1892, in a
German version translated by Max Kalbeck. It had a great success. The French-language premiere followed in Geneva on December 27, 1892, and the first performance in France was at the Opéra-Comique, Paris on January 16, 1893. The United States premiere at Metropolitan Opera took place in Chicago on March 29, 1894, and then in the company's main house in New York City three weeks later. The UK premiere was at Covent Garden, London, on June 11, 1894. Werther is regularly performed and has been recorded many times. Although written for a tenor, Massenet adjusted the role of Werther for a baritone, when Mattia Battistini sang it in Saint Petersburg in 1902. [Source