¡Viva Villazon!: Werther first night
Here’s one for the Villazonistas:
After a busy spring season that has included a European recital tour and a directorial debut at the Opera de Lyon, the Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón returns to the opera stage tonight to sing the title role in Massenet’s Werther at the Royal Opera House (rehearsal pics are being posted on our Facebook page).
More on Werther:
Antonio Pappano conducts this first revival of the 2004 production of the opera by Benoit Jacquot, which also stars mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch as the love-stricken Charlotte and soprano Eri Nakamura as Charlotte’s younger sister, Sophie.
Watch our trailer where Rolando Villazón and Antonio Pappano discuss the opera and the character of Werther.
An excerpt from their discussion:
Antonio Pappano: At the time Goethe wrote Werther, people were killing themselves in sympathy with the main character in the novel; Massenet was trying to get some of that fascination with death in the opera. It’s there in the very dark quality, dark yet full of the most ravishing music. He’s a very charismatic character, despite his neuroses. His music is so poetic, so psychological.
Rolando Villazón: Massenet was very careful to match the music with the inner world of his characters. The most important thing is that every character feels ruled by forces they don’t understand. Werther cannot fight the feelings going on inside him. It’s a sort of madness; he cannot fight the love he feels. He must forgot but cannot. But why, why is he so in love with Charlotte? Why? This is a question we all experience in our everyday lives.
Werther is a troubled soul, in search of answers, but he does not find those answers. He’s ruled by forces he doesn’t understand. He’s moved by this inner, very intense, world and forced to act upon it.