The sensational Werther by Jules Massenet -one of the most popular operas in the French repertoire- is returning to the Greek National Opera, conducted by Jacques Lacombe and directed by Spyros Evangelatos.

This production of Werther, first presented in 2014 at the Olympia Theatre, was the last opera to be directed by Spyros Evangelatos, a legendary figure in Greece’s theatre and opera scenes, and boasts sets and costumes by Giorgos Patsas.
This opera, written around a century after the epistolary novel by Goethe upon which it is based, tells the story of a doomed love affair between the young Werther and Charlotte. Once Werther realizes there is no hope for their love, he takes his own life. Charlotte, who has realized the urgency of the situation, rushes to be by his side, reaching him a little before he breathes his last.

Just like Goethe’s Faust (which in opera form became best known in the version by Gounod), so too did Werther win over the opera world, set to music by Jules Massenet, the great French composer. Massenet’s opera -which skillfully captures both the poetic nature of the idealistic Werther and the prisoner to social convention that was Charlotte- enjoyed huge success in its own day; translated into numerous languages, the work would go on to influence everything from the mores to the fashions of its time. This operatic Werther follows the beat of its own drum, departing from the original text in crucial ways. While it retains the theme of challenging social hierarchies and received convention, it dispenses in large part with the work’s philosophical musings. The fate of Goethe’s hero inspired the French composer to pen a score of immense lyricism and remarkable sensitivity that does not lack for powerful dramatic outbursts.

This production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to enhance the GNO’s artistic outreach.

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