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Werther (1980) Online

Werther (1980) Online
Original Title :
Genre :
Movie / Musical
Year :
Directror :
Jean Manceau
Cast :
Christine Barbaux,Jules Bastin,Teresa Berganza
Type :
Time :
Rating :
Werther (1980) Online

Credited cast:
Christine Barbaux Christine Barbaux - Sophie
Jules Bastin Jules Bastin - Le bailli
Teresa Berganza Teresa Berganza - Charlotte
Jean-Marie Frémeau Jean-Marie Frémeau - Albert
Neil Shicoff Neil Shicoff - Werther

User reviews



This was part of a summer opera festival in Lyons in 1979, and so one of the earlier televised operas. It caught Neil Shicoff in glorious voice. Teresa Braganza was not a member of the festival cast, but was brought in because of the promised telecast. The set designers look almighty pleased with themselves when they take their curtain call, but I had to buy three pirate copies in order to find one that was clear enough to tell me what some of the set was supposed to look like. The idea of Werther finding a sort of child doppleganger in one of Charlotte's little brothers,who dresses like Werther, does not sing or intrude into the story, but watches him intensely, is odd but interesting. He seems to represent Werther's hopes of finding someone who will love and accept him, as the boy is loved and accepted. When Charlotte rebuffs Werther, the kid seems to die, but is brought back to silent life when she later confesses she has missed Werther and loves him. The death scene is strange since the morally wounded Werther is compelled by the director to stay on his feet until almost his last breath. French camera work in this period was weird. The camera looks away at moments when you wish it would come in closer, so don't expect any revealing reaction shots, but Shicoff is a passionate and compelling Werther. It's a role he gave up after he had a breakdown during a performance at the Met. It was until then almost his signature role.


Werther is one of Massenet's best, and this is a fine production. Some of the camera work is on the weird side, could have been more subtly done. However, the costumes and sets while not the most beautiful I've seen do evoke a certain atmosphere and I wasn't confused by the setting at least either. The musical values are impeccable, with soaring orchestral playing and nuanced conducting.

The performances are just as effective. The character of Sophie can get on my nerves sometimes depending on the production but Christine Barbeaux's performance is appealing and charming. Jean-Marie Fremeau's Albert is a mix of gentile, menacing and understated. But the two best performances come from Teresa Berganza and especially Neil Shicoff. Berganza's Charlotte matures from innocent girl to strong woman very convincingly, and not only does she have a beautiful and unique voice but she also has quite seductive diction. Shicoff as Werther is brilliant, one of the best in the role. He acts with such compelling passion and his voice is large and rings out with no signs of strain.

All in all, a fine production with one of the finest Charlottes and Werthers you'll see. 9/10 Bethany Cox