Werther


COLLEGE-CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI | 2007

Projection Images

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Production Images

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WERTHER by Jules Massenet, based on The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Conductor: Mark Gibson
Cast: Logan/Neely, Pojanowski/Gill, Harvey/Ozaki, Fry/Rubio, Turner/Wardell
Production: T. Umfrid (scenery), D. Mogle (clothes), J. Fuchs (lighting), D. Townsend (hair/make-up)
photos courtesy of Mark Lyons

“Werther” has as many layers as an onion. Make that a rose, for director Nicholas Muni’s concept, as realized by the faculty and student artists at CCM, is far more beautiful. Muni calls it an “adaptation”, cut by about a half-hour from its original 130-plus minutes and performed without intermission like a film. Muni draws heavily upon Goethe’s 1774, semi-autobiographical novel upon which it is based, “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” and injects bits of Freudian analysis and 20th-century theories of the unconscious as well. Adding layers upon layers, he has enlisted the images and technology of today to give it new life and relevance. Muni presents “Werther” as universal, as relevant today as when Goethe penned his novel, as the Age of Reason was about to give way to revolution and the Romantic Movement. CCM’s update is exceedingly clever in that it doesn’t really look like it. The action transpires in the imagination of a blogger (Werther), a touch not only suggested by Goethe, who cast his novel as a series of letters to a friend, but resonates powerfully with today’s increasingly isolated, Internet culture. Opera purists will be delighted to see the characters in gorgeous period costumes in romantic settings that would be at home in any traditional production. Projections against the back wall comment on the action, and a pair of figures in brocade (the lovers after death?) shadow Werther and Charlotte as their love takes its tragic course. Jonathan Fuchs’ lighting is magical, with radiant whites and reds and eerie dark light for the phantom figures.
Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Classical Music Journal (May, 2007)

© 2013 Nic Muni | Stage Director | Artistic Direction | Teaching | Dramaturgy | Design | Site by RC