Friday, December 11, 2020

Werther from Vienna


Bertrand de Billy (conductor)
Andrei Serban (stage director), 

Piotr Beczała | Werther 
Clemens Unterreiner | Albert 
Gaëlle Arquez | Charlotte 
Daniela Fally | Sophie 

The Wiener Staatsoper has live streamed Werther with Piotr Beczala.  I have only really liked this opera with Jonas Kaufmann, but Piotr seems like the right type to carry it off.  We have soccer balls and hula hoops, so it must be at least the 1950s.  The stage is filled with a gigantic tree which stays through all the scenes.  Do they live in a tree house?  I am pleased to see a piano in Charlotte's bedroom. 

Charlotte seems to be seriously leading him on while telling him she has to marry Albert.  She blows him kisses.  Hmmm.  We are ambiguous about Charlotte.  Werther loves her for her responsible, motherly qualities.  She has married Albert because she promised her mother, but now she seems not to like him.  This Albert is nasty.  She is serious and sad.  Werther has ruined her life.  When one loves someone who cannot love you in the same way, one is obligated to pretend that all is well.  Piotr is excellent in this role but one does not love his Werther.  It is nevertheless a great role for him. 

I have not pictured Charlotte as the mature woman that she is here.  I prefer her as simply the older sister of her mother's many children.  It's too sad.  The emotional dynamic is very strong here.  In life this is too hard.  In opera it is perfect.  They are messing up everything.  

If you want a serious, intense Werther, this is for you.

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