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Massenet - Werther / Marcelo Alvarez, Elina Garanca, Adrian Erod, Ileana Tonca, Peter Jelosits, Philippe Jordan, Vienna Opera


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DVD 1-Disc Version

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andrei Serban, Alfred Sramek, Markus Pelz
  • Format: Classical, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: German, English, Italian, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BK53N8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,249 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Customer Reviews

The acting was perfect.
P. Sutherland
Gilbert and Sullivan operettas suffered and seemed anachronistic as long as the D'Oyly Carte company held the copyright and refused to allow updated interpretations.
Archie (Ottawa Canada)
The presence of Albert on stage on the last act makes such a great impact to audience.
Tokio K. Ohska

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By figaretto on February 22, 2006
Format: DVD
I agree with the reviewer who calls this a 'questionable' production. The characters were occasionally pushed beyond their character type. For instance, Werther is extremely irritated with Sophie and her happy singing in Act 2, whereas Werther would never be so unkind. And at the beginning of the opera, Sophie and Charlotte seem to be quite annoyed with one another, whereas Charlotte is supposed to be the loving nurturer of all the younger ones in the family. She comes off as neurotic and self-centered, and I'm pretty sure that is not how Massenet intended Charlotte to be protrayed. Also, the fact that Albert seems to be present all during Act 4 is downright weird.

I thought both Alvarez and Garanca followed the direction carefully and for the most part, it did work, even if the director's ideas rubbed a bit against the music. The chemistry between the two of them seemed real and it was easy to suffer along with Werther. His singing was lovely and hers was too. Garanca has a rich, low mezzo. The Sophie sang very well also. The Bailiff and the Albert were acceptable.

There was a strange cut in Act 1: the bit where Sophie encourages her father to keep his promise and go out with Johann and Schmidt - an odd little cut.

One more odd thing - in the last act, Werther and Charlotte don't just kiss - they are actually rolling around in the bed together. That seems a bit weird since the man has a gushing hole in his head.

Since the singing is good, and it's the only commercial live production of the opera we can get so far, complete with nice subtitles, I recommend it buying it, as it is certainly one of the most lovely operas ever written.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. Gallagher on December 30, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Where "Werther" is concerned, there's not much competition in DVD format--only the heavily cut and lip-synched 1985 Petr Weigl film, which is still worth checking out for Brigitte Fassbaender's performance but not for much else. All the more reason to be grateful, then, that this 2005 production does not break the spell that seems to have guaranteed good fortune to virtually all the recorded versions of Massenet's most radical and adventuresome opera in both LP and CD formats (my personal favorites: von Stade and Carreras under Colin Davis, and Kasarova and Vargas under Jurowski). The musical values in this DVD set are quite high, with sensitive direction from the podium (Philippe Jordan) and a seamlessly stellar cast--there's not a weak link in the ensemble. Andrei Serban's staging and direction are perhaps not for all markets--this production moves the drama from Goethe's late eighteenth-century setting to the 1950's--but, for the life of me, if there were ever an opera that cried out for and could actually thrive on imaginative updating, it is surely "Werther." Vincent Patterson's recent updating of Massenet's signature opera, "Manon," which views the heroine's career through the lens of various Hollywood stars (Audrey Hebburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman), has received considerable acclaim (see the amazon.com reviews of the DVD); but Serban's vision engages the core elements of the drama in "Werther" far better than Patterson's treatment of "Manon." By comparison, Patterson's "Manon" seems merely clever. Serban's "Werther" is disturbing and profoundly moving, because it meticulously drives home the resemblance between the turmoil registered in the original setting and the soul-killing social and domestic proprieties of '50s-era middle-class culture.Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Sutherland on October 16, 2007
Format: DVD
Like the previous reviewer, I had never seen any other production of Werther to spoil my enjoyment of this one. I thought it was wonderful! The music was powerful. The parts of Werther and Charlotte were sung beautifully and passionately by both Marcelo Alvarez and Elina Garanca. The acting was perfect. All the singers were good.

I was sort of surprised to see the 50s setting and costumes, but this is a timeless story, so...what does it matter? The staging with the gigantic tree was quite cleverly done, I thought. The changing colors of the leaves showed the passage of time. It was odd to have Charlotte's living space appear beneath the tree in Act III, but this is opera. By Act IV, the tree looked like a monstrous spider, and there lay Werther, bullet hole to the chest, dripping with blood. It took the entire act for him to die! With Albert lurking in the background and Charlotte mashing herself into Werther's bloody body...weird? Yes. Opera? Yes. I loved it!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. BOSS on February 11, 2008
Format: DVD
Why do directors have to detract from operas by forcing the viewer to watch their ego (which they call creativity)? The singing, acting, and orchestra are very good. So is the opera (one of Massenet.s most popular). But the scenery and the shift of time to the 1950s make it seem silly. As for the scenery, the giant tree that is the theme in all four acts is fine for act 1 (the garden) and act II (the town square, but is rather silly as the wall of the sitting room in act III and is totally ridiculous in Act IV where Werther's death bed in his bedroom is under this tree. Changing the time to the 1950s makes the plot unbeleavable. Girls of the 1950s simply didn't refused the man they loved to marry the man their late mother had wanted them to marry.
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