Seattle Opera Young Artists present a tragic tale

Opera fans will have the opportunity to appreciate the performance of Werther

THE FRENCH OPERA Werther by Jules Massenet will be presented Nov. 12 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay.

THE FRENCH OPERA Werther by Jules Massenet will be presented Nov. 12 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay.

Opera fans or those who would like to experience an opera, will have the opportunity to appreciate the Seattle Opera Young Artists’ performance of Werther, Jules Massenet’s French opera, at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Based on Goethe’s iconic novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, this beautifully affecting score tells the story of Werther, a sensitive young poet who is in love with Charlotte.

The action takes place in Wetzlar, Germany in 1772 when Werther takes the Bailiff’s eldest daughter to a party.  He falls in love with her at first sight and begins to reveal his feelings to Charlotte through a copious number of letters.

But — Charlotte is duty-bound to fulfill her mother’s dying wish to marry Albert.

The Sorrows of Young Werther was Goethe’s first major success, turning him from an unknown into a celebrated author practically overnight. Napoleon Bonaparte considered it one of the great works of European literature.

He thought so highly of it that he wrote a soliloquy in Goethe’s style in his youth and carried Werther with him on his campaign to Egypt.  It reputedly also led to some of the first known examples of copycat suicide. The Werther Fever was watched with concern by the authorities and fellow authors.


Werther is full of tender characterization brought forth by the lush beauty and romance of Massenet’s music and is considered to be his most popular opera. This opera first premiered in Vienna in 1892 and could be the perfect chance for fans of the art form to catch a modern production of the performance in the Comox Valley.

Now in its 14th year, Seattle Opera’s young artists program provides career guidance and training for young professional singers, typically between 22 and 32 years old.


Aren Der Hacopian is the director of this nationally recognized program. Peter Kazaras is the artistic director, Brian Garman is the music director, and Victor Steeb is the design co-ordinator.

Seattle Opera’s Werther will be presented Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. The performance is in French with English subtitles.

Tickets are: regular $50, members $45 and students $25. Doors open at 6.

For tickets, call 250-338-2430 or buy online at

For more information about the performers, visit

— Sid Williams Theatre


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