Werther Who? Francisco Negrin Directs Lyric's First Production of the French Opera in Thirty-Four Years | Newcity Stage
By Johnny Oleksinski Werther who? Don't be ashamed if that is what you're thinking. Jules Massenet's 1892 French opera based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "Die Leiden des jungen Werthers" ("The Sorrows of Young Werther") certainly falls within the standard opera repertory here in America, but a plurality of opera-goers don't know it from Adam—or "Le Cid." Before last Tuesday, you could have counted me among them. However, that Massenet and "Werther" are unfortunately so often omitted from seasons is no one's fault. Patrons don't demand it because they simply don't know to demand it. But in 2012, Chicagoans have a unique opportunity to become acquainted with this little known, remarkably engrossing work that bridges the volatility of Goethe's Sturm und Drang with the glorious, post-Romantic French sweep of Massenet. In a co-production with San Francisco Opera, Chicago's Lyric Opera is presenting its first "Werther" since 1978. Why the long wait? During a recent dress rehearsal, I was