Jules Massenet Werther


Stage director DANTE FERRETTI

Coproduction with Teatro Carlo Felice from Genova

The second opera premiere will bring one more literary work − opera Werther composed after the novel of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe The Sorrows of Young Werther, one of the major works of world literature. This epistolary novel from 1774 achieved immediate success after its publication like no literary work ever after. Young people started to identify themselves with Werther − dressing up like him in a blue tailcoat and yellow waistcoat and enjoying romantic pain and suffering that soon became Weltschmerz, world pain, one of the main features of romanticism, and the entire period was later on known as Sturm und Drang (storm and stress), after the 1776 drama of Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger. Just like the novel, opera Werther composed by Jules Massenet in 1887, one of the greatest French opera composers of the time and a master of orchestration to the libretto of Edouardo Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann, talks about the difficult inner turmoil of young Werther who is torn with pain because of the virtuous Lotta, that at the end leads him to suicide.

The libretto literally follows the plot of the novel with minor allowances due to opera conventions. The protagonists are only Werther and Charlotte whose marriage to Albert is a duty based on a promise. Such a change dramaturgically alters the character of Charlotte who declares her love only to Werther. Massenet’s music was often not appreciated by the critique of the time because at the time of fin-de-siècle, with numerous avantgarde tendencies, it appeared anachronistic, tied to the ideals of the 19th century such as Verdi or Berlioz. However, Massenet’s Werther, composed at the end of the century that was marked by romanticism, represents a rich synthesis of the 19th century tradition that Goethe commenced with his Werther in 1774.

Opera Werther is a coproduction with Teatro Carlo Felice from Genova. The conductor will once again be the chief conductor of the Opera of the CNT in Zagreb Pier Giorgio Morandi, and the stage director, set and costume designer will be Dante Ferretti. Dante Ferretti in his career worked with the greatest directors in the history of film art such as Pasolini, Fellini, Zeffirelli, Minghelle, Scorsese,
Burton and De Palme. Feretti along many acknowledgements won three Oscars for sets for movies The Aviator, Sweeney Todd and Hugo Cabret, and his works were on display in the largest world museums.