Soprano debuts in 2 Met Opera roles within day

In this photo provided by the Metropolitan Opera, Vittorio Grigolo portrays Rodolfo with Kristine Opolais as Mimi in the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcast of Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Saturday, April 5, 2014 in New York. Opolais made Metropolitan Opera history Saturday, stepping in for an ailing soprano to make her second company role debut in a span of 24 hours. On Friday night, Opolais sang Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.” (AP Photo/Metropolitan Opera, Marty Sohl)

Kristine Opolais, Howard Watkins

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Met Opera Werther 2014 Final Scene

I love The Met and the internets. Here’s the final scene I was whining about.

I also think I’ve found Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay. There’s an extra passing tone, but a sequence of it begins at 10:00 with the clarinet.

Evidently, the similarity has been noted before:


The Met: Werther — Jules Massenet

“It seems to me pointless to do an opera as passionate as Werther and not try and reach out and touch the audience.” —Richard Eyre

Well, Richard Eyre, I guess I took you too literally when I went back to see Werther a second time on Saturday. Despite making it way easier to accomplish by getting a much closer seat, there was no reaching. There was no touching!

However, I can tell you that if you’re in Box 30 Seat 3 of the Grand Tier, that framing device leaves you with a view of Werther’s feet for the start of the last scene. Frankly, Jonas Kaufmann has more talent in those feet than the rest of us dream of, but I happen to be a tremendous admirer of his facial talent, which is no more deeply affecting that when his character is in emotional agony. That, and I was worried he might have lost his untied cravat, which I’d grown quite fond of.

Having now seen the Met’s Werther twice, my takeaway is that, well, of course Jonas Kaufmann can sing like you read about, and the production was gorgeous. I’d seen his Tosca and his Faust, and over-listened to countless of his recordings.* But his acting in this was just staggeringly real. This is no small feat in a role that is inherently off the well-balanced emotional chain. But Jonas Kaufmann (my heeero) did it.


*In the interest of full disclosure, there aren’t all that many recordings, so they may, in fact, be countable.

And another thing: I think Gabriel Yared kind of borrowed the chord progression you hear at the beginning of the above video for The English Patient. It’s right here, at about 55 seconds in. That’s okay. My friend, CR, swears she heard Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay in Act IV of Werther.


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