Jonas Kaufmann Sings the Title Role in New Production of Massenet’s Tragic Romance Werther on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 20 at 12 noon on PBS
French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch makes her Met debut as Charlotte in Richard Eyre’s staging, which is conducted by Alain Altinoglu
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, in a cast that also 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 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.
Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Now in its fifth decade, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by M. Beverly and Robert G. Bartner and the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
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About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company’s repertory. The Met’s 2013-14 season features six new productions, including Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Deborah Warner in her Met debut; the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, conducted by David Robertson and directed by Bartlett Sher; Verdi’s Falstaff, conducted by Levine and directed by Robert Carsen; Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, conducted by Adam Fischer and directed by Jeremy Sams; Borodin’s Prince Igor, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov in his Met debut; and Massenet’s Werther, conducted by Alain Altinoglu and directed by Richard Eyre.
Building on its 82-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its eighth season in 2013-14 with ten live transmissions. Met Opera on Demand, a subscription service, makes selections from the company’s extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public online in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season and the Met offers free live audio streaming of performances on its website once a week during the opera season.