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Houston Grand Opera Brings Back Massenet's WERTHER For First Time In More Than Four Decades

A series of important HGO debuts headline the stunning, rarely seen opera.

Houston Grand Opera Brings Back Massenet's WERTHER For First Time In More Than Four Decades

On January 27, 2023, Houston Grand Opera continues its remarkable winter repertoire with Massenet's seldomly seen masterpiece, Werther. Premiered in 1892 and based on Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, the tragic opera about unrequited love returns to HGO for the first time since 1979 with this production from French director Benoît Jacquot, making his HGO debut.

The elegant, Romantic-era opera turns the emotional urgency of Goethe's novel into a musical and dramatic tour-de-force. It tells the story of the young poet Werther, who escorts the lovely Charlotte to a ball and falls hopelessly in love with her. But she is already engaged to Albert, with no intention of breaking things off. Unable to conceive a life without Charlotte, the obsessed, lovesick Werther grows ever more despondent as he continues his attempts to woo her, leading to his tragic fate.

This production features four artists making their long-anticipated Houston debuts: three-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, an international star, as Charlotte; tenor Matthew Polenzani, one of the most gifted performers of his generation, as Werther; soprano Jasmine Habersham, who is garnering accolades for her performances at houses across the country, as Charlotte's sister Sophie; and baritone Sean Michael Plumb, a 2021 Tucker Grant recipient, completing the quartet of lead principals as Albert. With world-renowned conductor Robert Spano taking the podium, audiences won't want to miss this chance to see a cast of legends perform a rare psychological drama.

A co-production of Opera de Paris and Royal Opera House, the opera runs approximately three hours, with two intermissions. It is sung in French with projected English translation.

Werther stars tenor Matthew Polenzani as Werther, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Charlotte, baritone Sean Michel Plumb as Albert, and soprano Jasmine Habersham as Sophie, with Robert Spano as conductor and Benoît Jacquot as director.

Tickets range from $20 to $210. For more information and to buy tickets, visit HGO.org or call the Box Office at 713-228-6737.



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