|Sandra Piques Eddy and Alex Richardson in Werther.
Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Did you see BLO's production of Werther? Don't let the music just fade away! Consider these thought-provoking discussion questions with the friends or loved ones who attended the opera with you. After all, art is meant to be shared.
1. Consider the production concept, directorial approach, and design elements of the opera. In what ways did these enhance, or detract from, your overall experience?
2. How does Werther’s obsession and emotional state color his memories of the characters and events leading up to his suicide? How does the production reflect this?
3. Charlotte is often described by other characters as good, angelic, pure. Do her actions throughout the opera justify this assessment? Why or why not?
4. Why does Werther feel that suicide is his only option?
5. How does Massenet’s music throughout the opera enhance the emotional content of the drama? Which moments stood out in particular, and why?
6. Goethe wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther based on his own romantic experiences and those of people that he knew—including a young man who had killed himself after being rejected by a married woman. What are the ethics of this type of appropriation? Does the story glamorize suicide? Does the opera itself?
7. Why would Massenet choose to juxtapose the children singing “Noel” as Werther dies in the final scene? Was it effective for you, and why or why not?
8. Read the blog post regarding the added vocal lines in this production, written by David Angus, BLO Music Director and Conductor of Werther. Did you notice this moment in the opera? How did it enhance the final scene between Werther and Charlotte—or is the drama better served by leaving it out? Why?