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Hard on the heels of a triumphant Lohengrin, Decca follows up with an equally astonishing debut performance of Jonas Kaufmann: Goethe's love-lorn hero Werther in Massenet's romantic opera. His premiere appearance in the role, in Paris in January 2010, took the French operatic world by storm, his assumption being hailed by Le Monde: "Werther is portrayed by the tenor of the moment, the German Jonas Kaufmann. He brings to the part a sublime timbre (warm, at times "baritonal" and musky), exceptional musicality, a very wide palette of tonal shadings and immaculate diction. Add to that his histrionic gifts and matinée-idol appeal and you've got a cocktail of qualities that rarely all come together at the opera."
He was supported by a superb French cast, including Sophie Koch as Charlotte and Ludovic Tézier as Albert, with the venerable Michel Plasson giving an expansive, lyrical interpretation from the pit. Film director Benoît Jacquot's attractive, straight-forward production, first seen at the Royal Opera House in London, focuses successfully on the various personal dramas of the opera.
Filmed in high definition widescreen by Idéale Audience, this new Werther is Jonas Kaufmann's third Decca DVD, and follows the extraordinary success of his Royal Opera Carmen and the recently-released Lohengrin from Munich.
Actors: Jonas Kaufmann, Sophie Koch, Ludovic Tezier, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Michel Plasson
Directors: Benoit Jacquot
Writers: Jules Massenet
Producers: Opera national de Paris
Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
Language: French (DTS 5.0), French (PCM Stereo)
Subtitles: French, English, German
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR Not Rated
Studio: Decca (Universal Music Group)
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2010
Run Time: 120 minutes
A "Dream" Werther with superb singing, acting and sets!
5 people found this helpful.
on January 1, 2015
By Alex W. Sanders
This performance was recorded in 2005, not released until late 2014 – but definitely worth the wait and fuss. The booklet only says it was “remastered” but no details. I attended the original production at the Teatro Regio di Torino in 2005 and I don’t recall seeing any video equipment.
I LOVE this performance
5 people found this helpful.
on February 12, 2015
I LOVE this performance!! The photography is excellent,the production VERY real,secondary roles assigned very well K Aldrich was Charlotte!!! and then there’s ROBERTO ALAGNA’s Werther!!Powerful,emotional,loving and VERY much in love with his Charlotte.The acting incredible,the singing even to the highest level of artistry,INCREDIBLE!! Made me cry!!
Very unusual surround presentation with body microphones and stage microphones mixed as a function of the video
on February 24, 2015
By R. Kreutzer
I have over 150 classical DVD/BRs that I watch on a 120″ screen and listen through a 7.2 loudspeaker setup where the front speakers are about 9′ 6″ apart and the surround speakers are placed where they ought to be. The room has sound treatments so I hear what’s on the disc, not distorting reflections from the walls. My reviews concentrate on the surround audio, as you can pretty much judge the video and stereo for yourself on youtube and similar sites.
A Great Performance
61 people found this helpful.
on October 27, 2010
This is a performance for which superlatives were created. Indeed my only criticism of the production are the penny plain sets for Act I and Act II; however, the singing is so splendid so moving, the dramatic commitment of the singers so compelling that such a criticism is beside the point.
The ultimate Werther
2 people found this helpful.
on December 28, 2014
By J. Gabrielson
A stunning work!! Kaufmann’s performance is the standard by which all performances of this work should be judged. And it will be an eon before any tenor can match this one. Kaufmann was born to play Werther. Every base is covered. The voice is perfection come to life. The physical beauty and nuanced emotional expression combined with great acting is something one does not see twice in a lifetime. The two sopranos were also fabulous. Michel Plaisson conducted a wonderful orchestra as if he were 40 years younger. I consider myself so fortunate to have lived long enough to have experienced this work, which I have never seen before, with the only cast that I can ever watch again. I don’t mind the glimpses of the back stage. I don’t mind the few examples of clumsy video editing. I just feel grateful that we can hear this wonderful music and see the performers.
One of the greatest operatic films ever made.
3 people found this helpful.
on November 3, 2013
By H. A. Weiss
Yes, I know the opera has been redacted to feature film length and the singing is lip-synched, but nonetheless for pure melodrama, nothing in the operatic repertoire surpasses Werther. Here, we have the hugely underrated Peter Dvorsky in, perhaps, his greatest role. This opera requires a Werther who can both act and sing, and Dvorsky satisfies both requirements, indeed, surpasses one’s expectations. Brigitte Fassbinder is a wonderful foil as his snake bit lover. The acting is nothing short of spectacular, the singing is first rate, and the gorgeous music by Massenet carries the story to its tragic conclusion with elegance and beauty. If opera is drama intensified by music, this recording may be the best example I have ever seen.
Excellent Production…Not so excellent videography
44 people found this helpful.
on November 7, 2010
By Lee Emrich
Jonas Kaufmann caused quite a stir in Paris when his Werther premiered in January 2010. This wonderful production has been captured and put on DVD so that now the rest of the world can enjoy the magnificent performances seen here.
Great performance, miserable, distracting video direction.
2 people found this helpful.
on November 21, 2013
By David J. Mayo
I too give Kaufmann, Koch and the rest of the cast very high marks. However this video is seriously compromised by the way Benoit Jacquot, the stage and video director, insists on showing singers before they come on, or cutting in mid-action from the stage to distant shots which include both stage and orchestra. For an opera to be viewed not merely as a concert but as theater, the willing suspension of disbelief is as essential as it is for any play. We’re told Jacquot intended to “make it impossible not to believe what the singers are expressing.” Nothing could be more destructive of that goal than jarring shots that shatter our involvement in the story as they remind us that these are merely singers awaiting their entrances, or singing on the stage a few feet above the orchestra. What on earth can he have been thinking? And where is Brian Large when we need him???
MY DVD PLAYER ON THE VERGE OF MELTING
11 people found this helpful.
on January 24, 2011
By Amazon Customer
Due to the extremely passionate and beautiful singing of its two leads (Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch), I felt, at times, this DVD OF Massenet’s most intense, sad and beautiful opera Werther just might melt my DVD player. To my surprise, there was no “melt down”. However, at the end of the performance on this DVD, I truly felt that I had just witnessed a great moment in opera.
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