Notes & Reviews:
In May 2011, Rolando Villazon made his acclaimed return to Covent Garden singing the title role in Massenet's Werther as The Independed glowed. Werther is musically red-blooded - dense with passion and pathos. The supporting cast contributes significantly to this major addition to the discography of French opera. Werther is Rolando's first complete opera on CD since 2008 and first live CD recording since Traviata.
"Pappano keeps authoritative control over the temperature gauge throughout and never lets the emotions boil over into abject melodrama... in the last act [Villazon's] singing is coloured by a desperate sincerity which would melt the hardest heart." -The Daily Telegraph
"Villazón dies spectacularly well, navigating the arc from infatuation to despair to determination. Sophie Koch excels as the remorseful Charlotte...Not a dry eye in the house." -The Independent
"[Villazon's] performance here — impassioned, poetic, both thrillingly extrovert and poignantly introverted — banishes most of the demons that have plagued him ...Pappano lets the Wagnerian orchestration rip in the interludes." -The Sunday Times
"Villazón is back where he’s seen at his best...he throws himself right inside the torments of Werther...you’ll either be irritated or charmed by Villazón’s rather cobwebbed habit of sliding upward toward key notes...But there are also numerous times when the subtlety and beauty of his vocal effects take the breath away...Villazón’s ardour finds its match in Antonio Pappano’s conducting. He never shrinks from the luscious ache in Massenet’s music" -The Times
The Independent on Sunday
The role of the orchestra is brilliantly realised in Antonio Pappano's performance...Sophie Koch's Charlotte persuades but Roland Villaz=n's hypersensitive Werther has more sob than suavity.
BBC Music Magazine
[Villazon] successfully negotiates the exposed or awkward passages. In the bigger singing of the third act...there's a touch of the old, devil-may-care Villazon...Even better is [Koch's Charlotte]...But what seems most likely to allow this recording to enter the lists of classic interpretations is Antonio Pappano's conducting...revealing the score's stresses and strains while deftly conveying its momentum.
Luscious-voiced Sophie Koch is a revelation as Charlotte. She ... displays impressive vocal richness and openness
Recording information: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (05/2011).
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Works DetailsMassenet, Jules : Werther
- Conductor: Antonio Pappano
- Ensemble: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
- Running Time: 73 min. 38 sec.
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta