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Your Reaction: Massenet's Werther live in cinemas

What did you think of The Royal Opera's live relay of the Goethe-influenced tragedy starring Joyce DiDonato and Vittorio Grigòlo?

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

27 June 2016 at 10.35pm | 17 Comments

What did you think of the live cinema relay of Werther?
Let us know via the comments below.

The next live cinema relay is The Royal Opera's Norma on 28 September 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

If you experienced technical issues during this live cinema relay, please email details to

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

27 June 2016 at 10.35pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Antonio Pappano, by Benoît Jacquot, cinema, Joyce DiDonato, live, movies, Production, relay, review, Social Media, Vittorio Grigolo, werther

This article has 17 comments

  1. lizadolots responded on 27 June 2016 at 11:32pm Reply

    Joyce di Donato was fabulous especially act 3. Her whole soul was poured into her singing. I was not particularly impressed with the production in act 4. Werther has just shot himself for goodness sake! There is blood everywhere, and not a drop on Charlotte's dress. Just so unrealistic. I liked Sophie too. Perhaps a bit less semaphore in the arm movements of Grigolo? Tony Pappano's musical direction was exquisite.

  2. Petunia Plain responded on 27 June 2016 at 11:34pm Reply

    Wonderful singing and thrilling orchestral performances. Sadly the drama of the sets and lighting totally lost for the cinema audience thanks to the usual thoughtless camera angles.

  3. Coppelia responded on 27 June 2016 at 11:43pm Reply

    Enjoyed the interval interviews and glimpses into rehearsal. Even if there were one or two forgiveable moments in Act IV when Vittorio's acting got a bit too 'big' for the big screen, (the Parma school?) he's nothing if not entertaining and the voice! Whether pp or fff it rips into your heart at all the right moments. Excellent cast without exception, bravo all

  4. Emer White responded on 28 June 2016 at 12:16am Reply

    It was a wonderful production - Joyce was brilliant as usual as was Grigolo. One crib - three months later in 2nd act they hadn't changed their clothes. Poor Joyce was left in the same horrible dress for the whole night.

  5. Peter Erdos responded on 28 June 2016 at 9:05am Reply

    Due to an unfortunate hitch (damaged cable link) the Everyman in Barnet could not show the performance. I will try to see it on the Sunday encore in another cinema.Hoping it will not disappoint

  6. Heidi Jungell responded on 28 June 2016 at 9:26am Reply

    It was a great evening with this "Werther"!!!
    Thanks for the possibility to have it in Cinemas (in my case in Basel/Switzerland).
    What a wonderfull performance with this cast. The great Papano and the absolut astonnisching "change" of Joice Di Donato from Rossine etc. to Massenet - what a present/gift. Marvelous/wonderfull .

  7. Reg Squires responded on 28 June 2016 at 11:41am Reply

    Well sung, I thought the staging was poor with the sets being far too large for the number of performers.
    I'm not a fan of DiDonato but she sang this part excellently. She doesn't portray the cumley young woman terribly well!
    The final two acts were absolutely magnificent, very moving, and in complete contrast to the first two acts.
    concl. Well sung but with better staging would have been a better performance

  8. MARK ROCHESTER responded on 28 June 2016 at 11:57am Reply

    I think it looked good and all the cast were exemplary,
    But not surprised there were only two others in the cinema and that it was initially unpopular, I am not a convert to Massenet,

  9. George Preston responded on 28 June 2016 at 12:49pm Reply

    Really great! Not a run-of-the-mill opera. Held my total attention from start to finish. Singing and acting wow! The set was minimal but absolutely right. All held together by outstanding orchestral playing and conducting.

    Excellent, 10/10.

  10. andie tromans responded on 28 June 2016 at 3:52pm Reply

    Yet another ROH Live that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sir Antonio Pappano and his wonderful orchestra were the stars of the show, but what a fabulous production. I thought that the sets and lighting really enhanced the experience.
    I don't want to criticise the cast because I think the fault lies with me, but... Having recently watched the DVD version of Werther featuring Mr Kaufmann, I just didn't get the same "feeling"from my cinema viewing, even though the excitement of the big screen and the knowledge that I am watching a live event usually thrill me to the core. As I say, it's probably me, but the title character didn't blow me off my feet and I don't know why!
    Finally, I wanted to congratulate Simon Callow for his fabulous interval interview. It was one of the best presentations he has done for ROH Live. Bravo Mr Callow.
    Can't wait to see Joseph Calleja's return to Covent Garden next season. So excited!
    As always, thank you to all involved in ROH Live. Your wonderful screenings are a joy to behold.

  11. Mariella Pandolfi responded on 28 June 2016 at 4:26pm Reply

    Excellent Pappano. Outstanding orchestra playing and conducting. Di Donato and Grigolo great in act III finally . Act I modest. But But But... I have been in Paris in 2010 and at Met in 2013. It is impossible to compare the sublime of Jonas Kaufmann's interpretation ... with this "standard" performance. An unique touch of sublime : Pappano.

  12. Your intention may have been wonderful, yet the direct relay to the Cinema is no good idea, the Special opera atmosphere does not come out. it is a pity that the whole Performance is torn apart by all the Details and comments which do not interest at all. we left after the first act or else we would have to shoot ourselves like Werther did.

  13. Simon Ridgeston responded on 3 July 2016 at 8:51pm Reply

    Magnificent Massenet, Wonderful Werther, Divine Di Dinato, Great Grigolo, this was my first visit to the Royal Opera House and I couldn't have picked a better performance as my first, Werther is a new opera to me and I wasn't sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed it, a perfect cast under the direction of maestro Papano. I look forward to my next visit in a couple of weeks to see performances by the Bolshoi.

  14. Ashley responded on 4 July 2016 at 11:57am Reply

    I attended the 'Encore' screening on Sunday July 3, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Didonato was magnificent, Pappano was sublime, and Grigolo very good too. I wasn't persuaded by the staging, and particularly the lighting, however: minimalist sets, sharply-angled to vanishing points for Acts One and Two, and then a spartan home-set for Act Three, and all side-lit to the point where it was difficult to see what was going on. I attend ROH on Wednesday July 6 for the really live experience, so I'm hoping it appeared darker because of the cameras. Musically marvellous, then, but like Nabucco, although to a much lesser degree, unsatisfactorily staged and lit.

  15. AWA responded on 15 July 2016 at 4:07pm Reply

    Alas, not only did ROH choose only ONE cinema in NY City to screen Werther, it's way the hell-and-gone out on Long Island & all but unreachable (unless you have a car). The website also gave several different DATES for the screening, and I could never reach anyone @ the cinema by phone.
    GREATLY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU, ROH: take a page from Met Opera, which has superb cinema distribution. ...

    • Lorinda Kamerman (Interim Cinema Account Administrator) responded on 15 July 2016 at 4:37pm

      Good afternoon,
      We have three upcoming cinema screenings of Werther in the New York area on July 24, 2016; Greenburgh 10, Cinema Arts Centre and Kew Gardens Cinema 6. Details for these theatres can be found at:

      Details for participating cinemas in the US for the 2016-17 season are still being confirmed. We encourage you to check back on our website for the latest information.

      With best wishes,

  16. Albert Sepe responded on 24 July 2016 at 11:11pm Reply

    Nothing beats the Met production with Kaufman. However, the singing is fabulous today. Grigolo could do a little less hand wringing. The sets were atrocious. Could have been a concert performance

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