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Encyclopedia > Werther

Werther is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Édouard Blau, based on the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe. First performance: Hofoper, Vienna, 1892. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet (May 12, 1842 - August 13, 1912) was a French composer. ... A libretto is the complete body of words used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, sacred or secular oratorio and cantata, musical, and ballet. ... The Sorrows of Young Werther (German, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers) is a loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe â–¶(?) (IPA: ) (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German novelist, dramatist, poet, humanist, scientist, philosopher, and for ten years chief minister of state at Weimar. ... Vienna (German: Wien [viːn]; Hungarian: Bécs, Czech: Vídeň, Slovak: Viedeň, Romany Vidnya; Serbian: Beč) is the capital of Austria, and also one of Austrias nine states (Land Wien). ... 1892 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...

Werther is part of the standard operatic repertoire. There are a several recordings of it, and it is regularly performed. This page lists famous operas arranged by composer. ...



  • Principal roles
  • Minor roles
    • Le Bailli, Charlotte's father - Bass or Baritone
    • Schmidt, a friend of the Bailli - Tenor
    • Johann, a friend of the Bailli - Bass or Baritone
  • Other
    • Brühlmann, a young man - Tenor
    • Käthchen, a young girl - Soprano
    • Guests, servants - Mute
    • Children, women - Chorus

In music, a tenor is a male singer with a high voice (although not as high as a countertenor). ... A mezzo-soprano (meaning medium soprano in Italian) is a female singer with a range usually extending from the A below middle C to the F an eleventh above middle C. Mezzo-sopranos generally have a darker (or lower) vocal tone than sopranos, and their vocal range is between that... Look up Soprano in Wiktionary, the free dictionary In music, a soprano is a singer with a voice ranging approximately from the A below middle C to high C two octaves above middle C (i. ... This is an article on the voice type. ... A basso (or bass) is a male singer who sings in the lowest vocal range of the human voice. ...


Time: July to December 1780.
Place: The outskirts of Frankfurt.

1780 was a leap year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... (?) [ˈfraŋkfʊrt] is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany. ...

Act I

The widowed Bailiff teaches his younger children a Christmas carol, surprising his two neighbors, Schmidt and Johann, for it is July. Charlotte dresses for a ball. Since her intended, Albert, is away, she is escorted by Werther whom they find gloomy. Werther arrives and watches as Charlotte prepares her young sibling's supper, just as her mother had before she died. Werther greets Charlotte with a kiss, and they leave for the ball. Albert returns unexpectedly after a six month trip. He is unsure of Charlotte's intentions and disappointed not to find her here, but is reassured and consoled by Sophie. He leaves after promising to return in the morning. Werther and Charlotte return very late, and he is already in enamoured with her. His declaration of love is interrupted by the announcement of Albert's return. Charlotte recalls how she promised her dying mother she would marry Albert. Werther despairs.

Act II

It is three months later, and Charlotte and Albert are now married. They walk happily to church, pursued by the gloomy Werther. Sophie tries to cheer him up. When Charlotte exits the church, he speaks to her of their first meeting. Charlotte begs Werther not to try to see her again until Christmas day. Werther contemplates suicide, but leaves quickly when Sophie greets him. Charlotte comforts the tearful girl who does not understand his cruel behavior. Albert now realizes that Werther loves Charlotte.


Charlotte is at home alone on Christmas Eve. She spends time rereading Werther's letters to her, wondering how the young poet is and how she had the strength to send him away. Suddenly Werther appears, and while he reads her poetry, he realizes that she returns his love. They embrace for a moment, but she quickly bids him farewell. He leaves with thoughts of suicide. Albert returns home to find his distraught wife. Werther has sent a message to Albert requesting to borrow his pistols, explaining he is going on an extended trip. A servant is sent to deliver the pistols. Charlotte has a terrible premonition and hurries to find Werther.

Act IV

At Werther's apartment, Charlotte has arrived too late. Werther is dying. She consoles him by declaring her love. He asks for forgiveness. Outside children are heard singing a Christmas carol. sDfsaefase

Noted arias

  • "Ô Nature" (Werther)
  • "Va, laisse couleur" (Charlotte)
  • "Pourquoi me réveiller?" (Werther)

  Results from FactBites:
Amazon.com: The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin Classics): Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Michael Hulse: Books (497 words)
The Sorrows of Young Werther and over 120,000 other books are available for Amazon Kindle – Amazon’s new wireless reading device.
Start reading The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin Classics) on your Kindle in under a minute.
The Sorrows of Young Werther (Modern Library Classics)
The Editor to the Reader. Goethe, J. W. von. 1917. The Sorrows of Werther. Vol. XV, Part 1. Harvard Classics Shelf of ... (10077 words)
The latter shook his head doubtingly; and although Werther urged his case with the utmost zeal, feeling, and determination in defence of his client, yet, as we may easily suppose, the judge was not much influenced by his appeal.
Werther, however, did not abandon his enterprise, and even besought the judge to connive at the flight of the prisoner.
Werther supported his forehead on Charlotte’s arm: she trembled, she wished to be gone; but sorrow and sympathy lay like a leaden weight upon her soul.
  More results at FactBites »



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