Met Opera on Demand Catalog
(Feb. 3, 1979)
Composer: Jules Massenet
Librettist: Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann
Bonynge; Crespin, Kraus, Carlson, Battle
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Approximate running time: 2 hrs. 12 min.
Goethe’s book, The Sorrows of Young Werther, first appeared in 1774, a powerful story of an impossible love which set off a wave of suicides across Europe. Authorities were horrified, but the emotions of the younger generation had been unleashed. Massenet’s opera captures all of the pathos and tragedy of Goethe’s story. Alfredo Kraus’s aristocratic but fervent singing conveys every nuance of Werther’s soul. The warm, feminine Régine Crespin is Charlotte, the duty-bound woman who returns his love but is ultimately unattainable.