Werther

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November 2020
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Synopsis

    Time: Within the period July to December, in an undefined year in the 1780s.
    Place: Wetzlar in Germany.

Act 1

In July, the widowed Bailiff (a Magistrate, rather than one who comes to seize property), is teaching his six youngest children a Christmas carol ("Noël! Jésus vient de naître"). His drinking companions, Johann and Schmidt, arrive as Charlotte, the eldest daughter, dresses for a ball. Since her fiancé Albert is away, she is to be escorted by Werther, whom the Bailiff and his companions find gloomy. Werther arrives ("O Nature, pleine de grâce"), and watches as Charlotte prepares her young siblings' supper, just as her mother had before she died. He greets her and they leave for the ball. Albert returns unexpectedly after a six month trip. He is unsure of Charlotte's intentions and disappointed not to find her here, but is reassured and consoled by Charlotte's younger sister Sophie. He leaves after promising to return in the morning. After an orchestral interlude ("Clair de lune"), Werther and Charlotte return very late; he is already enamoured of her. His declaration of love is interrupted by the announcement of Albert's return. Charlotte recalls how she promised her dying mother she would marry Albert. Werther is in despair.

Act 2

It is three months later, and Charlotte and Albert are now married. They walk happily to church to celebrate the minister's 50th wedding anniversary, followed by the disconsolate Werther ("Un autre est son époux!"). First Albert and then Sophie ("Du gai soleil, plein de flamme") try to cheer him up. When Charlotte exits the church, he speaks to her of their first meeting. Charlotte begs Werther to leave her, though she indicates that she would be willing to receive him again on Christmas Day. Werther contemplates suicide ("Lorsque l'enfant revient d'un voyage"). He encounters Sophie but the tearful girl does not understand his distressing behavior. Albert now realizes that Werther loves Charlotte.

Act 3

Charlotte is at home alone on Christmas Eve. She spends time rereading Werther's letters to herself ("Werther! Qui m'aurait dit ... Ces lettres!"), wondering how the young poet is and how she had the strength to send him away. Sophie comes in and tries to cheer up her older sister ("Ah! le rire est béni"), though Charlotte is not to be consoled ("Va! laisse couler mes larmes"). Suddenly Werther appears, and while he reads to her some poetry of Ossian ("Pourquoi me réveiller?"), he realizes that she does indeed return his love. They embrace for a moment, but she quickly bids him farewell. He leaves with thoughts of suicide. Albert returns home to find his wife distraught. Werther sends a messenger to Albert, requesting to borrow his pistols, explaining he is going on an extended trip. After the servant has taken them, Charlotte has a terrible premonition and hurries to find Werther. An orchestral intermezzo ("La nuit de Noël") leads without a break into the final Act.

Act 4

"The death of Werther": At Werther's apartment, Charlotte has arrived too late to stop him from shooting himself; he is dying. She consoles him by declaring her love. He asks for forgiveness. After he dies, Charlotte faints. Outside children are heard singing the Christmas carol.

Program and cast

Sir Simon Keenlyside | Werther
Stéphanie d’Oustrac | Charlotte
Jean-Sébastien Bou | Albert
Florie Valiquette | Sophie
Marc Barrard | Le Bailli


Daniele Rustioni | direction
Opéra National de Lyon Orchestra and Maîtrise


Sung in French with French and English subtitles

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

The Théâtre des Champs- Elysées is undoubtedly one of the finest venues in Paris . Built in 1913 , it has the distinction of having been designed by a group of artists architects Henry Van de Velde and Auguste Perret , the painter and sculptor Antoine Bourdelle , the painter Maurice Denis , and the crystal- René Lalique to do mention the main ones . He was the first Parisian theater to be built entirely of reinforced concrete.

 

Restoration of the Great Hall devoted to operatic performances , symphony concerts and dance was decided in 1985. Two years later , on 23 September 1987, the theater reopened its doors , completely renovated. Fifteen years after this important work it was decided to undertake a new renovation campaign , but to prevent the complete closure of the theater for an entire season , work is now carried by step during the summer . Then it is to replace aging equipment , to remedy wear certain parts of the theater and improve spectator comfort and artists during their visit . Thus in recent years, including the work involved the renovation of marble facade, replacing the carpet in the room with wooden floors , installation of a new fully decorated wooden concert to a significant improvement of acoustics, the orchestra pit and stage below .

 

The Théâtre des Champs- Elysées is now a modern working tool receiving each year nearly 300,000 spectators and a few thousands of artists and collaborators.

 

The Théâtre des Champs- Elysées , the jewel of French architecture of the twentieth century, was in 1953 one of the first buildings of contemporary architectural heritage to be classified as historic monuments . Since 1970 the Caisse des Dépôts owns the entire building 15 avenue Montaigne and principal patron of the theater.

 

For over a century, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées has been the place where the most celebrated artists have come to make their names in Paris. The world’s finest orchestras and world-class soloists have always been a fixture at the Theatre. Théâtre des Champs-Elysées presents more than 200 concerts each year and is renowned for its outstanding performances of all genres, from classical music concerts and staged opera to contemporary dance and jazz.

 

How to reach us:
 

Subway: Alma-Marceau (line 9), Franklin D.Roosevelt (line 1), Pont de l’Alma (RER line C)

Bus: n° 42, 63, 72, 80, 92
Taxi station: Place de l’Alma, corner of avenue George V
Car park: Alma George V. The entrance is in front of n° 19, avenue George V
Fixed rate depending on the length of the performance. Payment upon entering.

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