Sunday, 26 June 2016

What art is for (ROH/Werther)

Massenet, Werther (Antonio Pappano cond. Orchestra of the Royal Opera House)

A short note on the second Werther of the run on Friday night (24th June). The atmosphere in town was extraordinary for obvious reasons. It provided an excellent opportunity for Joyce DiDonato and co to  show us what art is for: that it can be a balm, that it can heal, that it can provide consolation, that it can bring people together. Since Sunday, not much had changed. Grigòlo’s voice had stepped up a gear considerably and showed more power. Next to DiDonato’s perfect Français, the Italianate nature of his style showed, but served mainly to set the poet far removed from real life. Yet this was all so directly related to real life, or the real need. It was so obvious that the music did so much good. It was extraordinary to see just how well art could respond to the most pressing need of so many. 
Vittorio Grigòlo as Werther and Joyce DiDonato as Charlotte in Werther, Royal Opera House © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper
Overall: this performance said so very much about art and its purpose, in a way which Glyndebourne had failed the previous night.

Until 13th July; in cinemas 27th June, plus encore screenings.

Cast and creatives
Music - Jules Massenet
Libretto - Edouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann
Director - Benoît Jacquot
Set and lighting designer - Charles Edwards
Costume designer - Christian Gasc
Conductor - Antonio Pappano
Werther - Vittorio Grigòlo
Charlotte - Joyce DiDonato
Albert - David Bizic
Sophie - Heather Engebretson
The Bailli - Jonathan Summers
Johann - Yuriy Yurchuk
Schmidt - François Piolino
Brühlmann - Rick Zwart
Käthchen - Emily Edmonds
Concert master - Vasko Vassilev
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

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