Opera by Jules Massenet
The National Theatre |
155 minutes |
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In French original with Czech and English surtitles
J. W. Goethe’s poetry and prose have inspired numerous artists, including opera composers. The most accomplished adaptations of his works include French operas: Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon, Charles Gounod’s Faust and Jules Massenet’s Werther. Soon after its publication, Goethe’s 1774 epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther became a cult book, one in which the readers recognised themselves, with a number of them even taking the hero’s example and committing suicide.
The work is a seminal text of the German proto-Romantic literary movement known as Sturm und Drang, whose adherents placed emphasis on human emotionality as the answer to the cool rationalism of the era of the Enlightenment. Linking up to his teacher Thomas and his colleague Gounod, Massenet’s compositional style is primarily noted for abundant distinct melody and colourful orchestration, inspired in part by Richard Wagner.
His suggestible musical idiom serves to underline a story replete with passions, which the protagonists fail to satisfy. Massenet’s Werther, one of the most acclaimed French operas, is returning to the National Theatre in Prague almost 80 years after the previous production, performed from 1927 to 1939. The production is staged by the renowned German director Willy Decker in collaboration with Oper Frankfurt.
Prague is full of opera and ballet!
The National Theatre was built from the desire of the Czech people for national independence. Its building was financed from the collections on which participated broad masses of people as well as important donators (including the nobility and the emperor himself). The theatre foundation ceremonial on 16th May 1868 became a national celebration.
The theatre was opened in 1881. In the same year the theatre burned down, and this tragic event caused a huge wave of new collections to support the restoration of the theatre. The National Theatre was reopened in 1883 by the opera Libuše by Bedřich Smetana and since then it has been serving as a place of Czech national identity and as a flagship of the Czech culture to these days.
Par excellent performance, touching the right chords, and leaving an indelible impression.
I am taking back a beautiful experience to my country.