Thursday, 14 July 2016

Farewell Werther (ROH/Werther)

Massenet, Werther (Pappano, cond. Orchestra Royal Opera House)
I am losing a two (or five) favourite productions this week. The final Opera North Ring Cycle in Gateshead (notes to follow as I am still composing myself) finished on Sunday, and the final Werther last night at the Royal Opera. This will only be a short note as I have made exposition on the production and same cast already (first night, second visit).
Joyce DiDonato as Charlotte and Vittorio Grigòlo as Werther in Werther, Royal Opera House © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper
Joyce and Vittorio in act IV. ROH/Bill Cooper

1. This remains a superb production, technically and stylistically; what remains are the limitations of the opera. What would you miss by starting with Acts III and IV? Lovely music I suppose, but dramatically? 
2. The cast is dreamy. Joyce is peerless, both in terms of singing and acting. 
3. All the same Vittorio's six stock tenor gestures begin to wear thing by the end, however magnificent he sounds. 
4. David Bizic gave his best performance in the run which I have seen. Vocally solid with much meaning, really very fine indeed.
5. Pappano's life still hangs on every last note.  
6. I finally 'got' the snow in that last scene. 
Overall: this is the production to beat. The limitations of the opera itself remain.

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