Breathtaking, passionate, inspiring opera for the community
by Jules Massenet
April 28, 2017-Friday at 8pm
Saratoga Civic Theater
Based on Goethe’s novel Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’) of 1774.
The story of the opera
Very few stories have managed to merge truth and fiction so effectively that the boundary becomes indiscernible. And very few stories have sparked off such an extreme reaction from an entire generation that young people chose to commit suicide as a consequence of their passionate association with a supposedly fictional character. And very few stories can still arouse powerful emotions over 200 years after it was first written. The story of Werther does all these things, and the combination of Goethe’s moving, virtually autobiographical narrative, combined with the heady beauty of Massenet’s music, has produced for modern opera audiences as profoundly moving and shocking an experience as can be found on a stage anywhere. Goethe’s novel itself is a revelatory glimpse into both the brightest and the darkest sides of human relationships, and it sparked off many operatic versions, but it is the opera by Jules Massenet which most brilliantly caught the spirit of the original.