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Bergen National Opera
22.03.2019 at 19h00 CET
Friday, March 22, 2019 - 19:00

Bergen National Opera


Goethe’s famous tragedy set to the most romantic music ever written.

Operas | Massenet

In a stuffy provincial town, a passionate and idealistic poet accompanies a dutiful young lady to a ball. He falls madly in love with her - but she is already engaged to another.


Bergen National Opera presents Massenet’s great opera in a new production directed and designed by Antony McDonald. The Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas sings the title role - regarded as one of the most poetic and expressive in the French repertoire - alongside Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 competition winner Catriona Morison as Charlotte.

Sung in French
Live subtitled in English with possibility of auto-translation into 114 other languages.

Available from
22.03.2019 at 19h00 CET

Available until
21.04.2019 at 23h59 CET

WertherEdgaras Montvidas
CharlotteCatriona Morison
SophieHanna Husáhr
AlbertTim Mix
Le BailliMischa Schelomianski
SchmidtVladimir Dmitruk
JohannIgor Gnidii
ChorusBergen National Opera Chorus
OrchestraBergen Philharmonic Orchestra

MusicJules Massenet
ConductorFrédéric Chaslin
DirectorAntony McDonald
Set DesignerAntony McDonald
Costume DesignerAntony McDonald
Bergen National Opera

Act I

At his home in the Hessian town of Wetzlar, the bailiff tries to teach his youngest children a Christmas song. His two drinking buddies, Johann and Schmidt, are amused at his struggle to practice Christmas songs in the middle of summer. The bailiff informs them that his eldest daughter, Charlotte, is getting ready for the evening's ball, and that the young poet Werther is to accompany her as Charlotte's fiancé, Albert, is away on business.

Arriving at the bailiff’s house, Werther is overwhelmed by the glorious summer day and pays tribute to nature through poetry. He is interrupted by the sound of children: it is Charlotte who is hurrying to give her young siblings supper before she leaves for the evening’s entertainment. Werther is completely captivated by what he sees. The bailiff says that he has become a widower, and that it is Charlotte who takes care of the children and the house now that her mother is dead.

After Werther and Charlotte have left for the ball, Albert suddenly arrives after having been away from town for six months. He is disappointed that Charlotte is not at home but asks Sophie, the bailiff’s second daughter, not reveal that he is back: he wants it to be a surprise for everyone the next day.

After Werther and Charlotte return from the ball, Werther confesses his love for her. But he becomes full of despair when Charlotte tells him what she promised her mother on her deathbed: that she must take care of the family and marry Albert.

Act II

It is a brilliant and sunny Sunday, and Albert and Charlotte have been married for three months. Together with other guests, they flock to the church to celebrate the golden wedding day of the pastor.

Werther observes Charlotte and her husband from a distance and he mourns the loss of what he has decided is the great love of his life. Albert tells Werther that he understands his despair and forgives him. Werther lies to Albert that he now sees Charlotte as nothing more than a good friend.

The two men are interrupted by the fun-loving Sophie who declares that as the air is full of merriment she’d like to celebrate and have the first dance with Werther. But Werther retires, ashamed at having lied to Albert about his love for Charlotte. When Charlotte arrives, Werther again declares his passion for her.

Charlotte, a little distraught, repeats that she must follow her duty and that she belongs to another. She demands that Werther leave town, but weakens and asks him to come back later, at Christmas time. Werther states that he will never return again.


Autumn has turned to winter, and on Christmas Eve Charlotte reads all the letters from Werther with despair and overwhelming emotion. Sophie tries to cheer her big sister up, but to no avail.

Werther suddenly arrives, and he and Charlotte exchange memories of the time before they were separated. Werther quotes from a passionate poem he was in the process of translating. The meeting is intense, but Werther leaves Charlotte abruptly.

Albert comes home and tells Charlotte he has heard from townsfolk that Werther has been visiting her. He also shows her a letter he has just received from Werther: ‘I'm going on a long journey. Will you lend me your guns?’ Charlotte senses a terrible looming tragedy and rushes away.

Act IV

That night, Charlotte makes her way to Werther’s house. In his room, she finds him wounded, but he forbids her to fetch for help. They finally embrace and she declares her love for him before he dies in her arms.