Jules Massenet

JULES MASSENET is one of the most notable representatives of French lyrical opera. He is the author of 27 operas, some of which bring him great fame. Many of his works were written based on works of world and French literature. The lyrical opera in four acts Werther is based on epistolary novel „The Sorrows of Young Werther” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The French libretto was created by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann (who used the pseudonym Henri Grémont). Massenet started composing Werther in 1885, completing it two years later. The director of the Paris Opéra-Comique declined to accept it on the grounds that the scenario was too serious. Werther received its premiere on February 16th 1892 (in a German version translated by Max Kalbeck) at the Imperial Theatre Hofoper in Vienna. The French-language premiere followed in Geneva on December 27th 1892. Werther’s third-act aria Pourquoi me réveiller? (Why would you wake me up?) is from the scene in which Werther realizes that Charlotte really loves him. They hug for a moment, but she quickly says goodbye to him. He leaves sunk in suicidal thoughts.

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