Werther at the Paris Opera House
Last year, I took part in a great experience, because I sung at the Opera Bastille , the Opera Werther by Massenet.
This opera was inspired by Goethe’s book The Sorrows of Young Werther, written in 1774. This book tells the story of a young romantic hero who falls in love with Charlotte who is unfortunately already married to a man who is eleven years her senior . She has many little brothers and sisters, and she teaches them how to sing a Christmas song .
In the end, Werther commits suicide, and when he is dying in Charlotte’s arms, we can hear the children sing the canticle in the wings. It is very tragic and sad; the contrast is very strong especially because the lyrics are very repetitive, the choir sings most of the time “Noël ! Noël ! Noël ! Noël ! Noël !” whereas Werther is telling Charlotte how much he has loved her since the first time he saw her.
Final act: Werther dies in Charlotte’s arms
I was in the choir and this experience was really incredible. Indeed, we worked with amazing artists who are known from all over the world and it taught us how to be professionnal and to be able to face any situations.
During a representation, we were live at the radio and we had to be extremely quiet. Sometimes it was very stressful, especially when the highmaster of the Paris Opera came to see us.
We were speaking English most of the time because the conductor was an Italian, Giacomo Sagripanti, Werther was performed by an Austrian, Piotr Beczala, Elīna Garanča as Charlotte, was Latvian and all the rest was French ! It is during these kinds of experience that you can understand music is an universal language.
I take part in those productions thanks to my choir, the Maitrise des Hauts de Seine, which is also the children’s choir of the Paris Opera. Each year we can sing in amazing productions: I already did the Nutcracker, the third symphony of Malher ( they were both at the Opera Bastille) and a prologue to Cosi Fan Tutte called Cosi Fanciulli in the Champs Elysées theater ( I would say that it is my favorite production because I met really good friends and the conductor was really friendly).
This is my fifth year in this choir, and I can’t wait to see what I will do this year.