Jules Massenet


Feb 16 - Mar 9

Tenor sensation Vittorio Grigolo is Werther, the young poet who seeks the unattainable love of the beautiful Charlotte, sung by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. Edward Gardner conducts Richard Eyre’s visual feast of a production.

Production a gift of Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie R. Eveillard

Major funding from Rolex

Additional funding from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.;
the Gramma Fisher Foundation, Marshalltown, Iowa; and The Gilbert S. Kahn &
John J. Noffo Kahn Foundation

Revival a gift of Mrs. Jayne Wrightsman

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • French
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 2 hrs 54 mins
  • House Opens
  • Acts I & II 78 mins
  • Intermission 36 mins
  • Acts III & IV 60 mins
  • Opera Ends
Feb 16 - Mar 9

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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World premiere: Vienna Court Opera, 1892. One of opera’s greatest depictions of impossible love, Werther is based on Goethe’s epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. A sensation when it appeared in 1774 (and partly inspired by the author’s own experiences), it tells the story of a melancholy poet whose love for a married woman and general disaffection with the world lead to his suicide. The archetype of the artistic, brilliant, and doomed young man rebelling against the establishment has resonated through the ages in literature, theater, film, and music.


Wildly popular in his day, Jules Massenet (1842–1912) was noted for his operas, songs, and oratorios. His style lost popularity in the early 20th century, with only Manon (1884) and, in recent decades, Werther and Thaïs (1894) maintaining a place in the repertory. Three dramatists collaborated on the Werther libretto: Édouard Blau (1836–1906), Paul Milliet (1855–1924), and Georges Hartmann (1843–1900). Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) is the preeminent figure of German literature and the author of Faust. He was also a well-regarded authority on philosophy, art, and especially music.

Production Sir Richard Eyre

Set and Costume Designer Rob Howell

Lighting Designer Peter Mumford

Video Designer Wendall K. Harrington

Choreographer Sara Erde

Jules Massenet


Jules Massenet


The novel and opera are set in a small town near Frankfurt, Germany, in the late 18th century. The Met’s production moves the action to Massenet’s time.