Werther (pronounced Verter)I saw Massenet's Werther at the Lyric Opera of Chicago last night. My first Massenet opera, however, sort of indifferent about the opera. That does not mean I didn't like it, but definitely did not move me. I have been an avid opera goer only since last year and only because student tickets gives me the advantage of going without emptying my piggy bank. Anyway, this season I did not really fall in love with any of the productions so far. Simon Boccanegra was pretty good and I liked it a lot (and I think it would be a shame not to like a Verdi opera). Elektra was powerful and the ending of the production was wicked awesome and perfect for Halloween. Werther was just ok for me. The singing was excellent, but I look for more than just great singing in an opera. I look for a good story line and a nice execution between the music and everything else that is happening on stage.
This happens a lot with operas though. I am sure it could be an excellent production if executed really well. And every opera production is different because you have different producers and directors who have a different vision and may not always captivate you or the audiences vision (even though their job is to captivate the audience, sometimes you can't win everyone over). I thought the Lyric's production of Werther was executed kind of slow and while some scenes I thought were pretty interesting I didn't feel like they flowed well together. I think just as music and movement should flow well, so should scenes in a play. The scenes were choppy and all over the place.
Last season I fell in love with Lucia di Lammermoor (if you couldn't tell by my screen name.) That is my favorite opera by far and is still standing at number one! Then Tales of Hoffman is third on my list and Don Giovanni is second. I didn't see Don Giovanni at the Lyric, but I actually helped out with a production of Don Giovanni at a small local opera company that performed it in modern American English. Plus, I am learning one of the pieces this semester in private voice lesson. So, I will forever have a soft spot for Don Giovanni because I had to study the entire score and watch them rehearse and perform it every weekend. And it was my first experience helping out with an opera production and it was such great fun. Also the music for Don Giovanni is so beautiful and vibrant! I Love it!