Tenor Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of the tortured poet in the Met’s new production of Jules Massenet’s Werther on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 20 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera beginning at 12:30 p.m.)
Richard Eyre, whose hit production of Bizet’s Carmen premiered at the Met in 2009, directs the new staging, which is conducted by Alain Altinoglu. French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch, in her Met debut is Charlotte, the object of Werther’s unrequited love, is part of the cast that includes Lisette Oropesa as Sophie, Serbian bass-baritone David Bižić in his Met debut as Albert, and Jonathan Summers as Le Bailli.
The production features sets and costumes by Tony Award winner Rob Howell, lighting design by Peter Mumford, video design by Wendall Harrington, and choreography by Sara Erde in her Met debut.
Jonas Kaufmann has sung the role of Werther to acclaim with Paris Opera in 2010 and with the Vienna State Opera in 2011, both times opposite Sophie Koch as Charlotte. Sophie Koch is one of the world’s leading interpreters of Charlotte, having sung the role with Paris Opera; the Vienna State Opera; Madrid’s Teatro Real; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; and, last season, Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The Wall Street Journal praised “…Mr. Eyre’s fiercely precise directing and the riveting performances of tenor Jonas Kaufmann as the unhappy Werther and mezzo Sophie Koch—making her house debut—as Charlotte, the woman he loves.”
The New York Times concurred: “Kaufmann, currently the most in-demand, versatile and exciting tenor in opera… is ideal in the role. He sings with dark colorings, melting warmth, virile intensity and powerful top notes. French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch… brings a plush, strong voice and aching vulnerability to Charlotte…Mr. Eyre deserves unreserved credit for the detailed and involving performances he draws from his cast.”
Soprano Patrice Racette hosts the broadcast.
Werther was originally seen live in movie theaters on March 15, 2014, as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 66 countries around the world. The transmission reached a record-breaking 15 million viewers.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.