Saturday, February 11, 2012


Well, I saw Werther. The music is fine, but the opera suffers from a problem.

There are three main characters:

Werther, a young man with a mood disorder, who zings back and forth between enthusiasm and deep depression. He falls in love at first sight with Charlotte, who is kind and sweet and does what she is told.

Charlotte is engaged -- and then married -- to Albert, who is solid, respectable, jealous and vindictive.

Charlotte sends Werther away, but tells him to came back at Christmas, which suggests she is a little indecisive. While he is gone, he writes her passionate letters, which she reads and keeps, although she is now married to Albert.

Werther comes back at Christmas. Albert becomes suspicious. Charlotte sends Werther away a second time. Werther then sends a letter to Albert, asking to borrow his dueling pistols.

Albert agrees and insists that Charlotte be the one to give the guns to Werther's messenger. (This is how we know he's vindictive.) Charlotte does as she is told, even though she suspects Werther is suicidal.

She married Albert because her dying mother told her to. She cared for all her little brothers and sisters, because it was expected of her. She handed the guns over, because Albert told her to. When she finds Werther after he has shot himself, she wants to go for help, but he tells her not to, and she doesn't.

She does what she's told to do. However, in act four, when Wether is bleeding all over everything, she decides she really does love him; and then he dies.

It is hard to like any of these people.


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