Search - Donaldson Bell, Isobel Buchanan, Linda Humphries :: Werther

Donaldson Bell, Isobel Buchanan, Linda Humphries
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #2

If there is a single word to describe the singing of mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, it is "luminous," and she shines with clear radiance in this classic recording, bringing rare depths of emotion to the role of Charl...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Donaldson Bell, Isobel Buchanan, Linda Humphries, Paul Crook, Robert Lloyd
Title: Werther
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Philips
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 028941665423

If there is a single word to describe the singing of mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, it is "luminous," and she shines with clear radiance in this classic recording, bringing rare depths of emotion to the role of Charlotte. If José Carreras is not her dramatic equal, he sings well, sounding believable as an ardent suitor so smitten that he kills himself when he believes that all hope is lost. Isobel Buchanan has a bright and youthful voice that makes Sophie sound sweet and young, avoiding the pitfalls of twitishness into which some interpreters of the role drop, while Thomas Allen makes Albert far more than the cipher that he so often becomes. Sir Colin Davis's sensitive conducting makes this the preferred set by a wide margin. --Sarah Bryan Miller

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Member CD Reviews

Susan B. from PARKSLEY, VA
Reviewed on 5/14/2007...
This opera is on 2 CD's and includes the libretto

CD Reviews

Verismo-like Massenet
PhantomOfTheOpera | 03/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In many ways, this is very impressive version, according to many critics (Gramophone) still the best one. No doubt Von Stade is probably ideal Charlotte. In my opinion, problems are with Davis and Carreras. Conductor's reading is too much in verismo-like manner and singers, especially Carreras, (are able to) go this way. But Massenet is not Mascagni or Leoncavallo.
For me the most impressive current recording of this opera with mezzo Charlotte is RCA/Jurowski version with Kasarova and Vargas (although with no French in team)."
A Werther that will break your heart
PhantomOfTheOpera | Norway | 10/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this opera after having heard Carreras singing "Porquoi me reveiller" in a concert. I've never heard anyone sing this aria so "devastatingly well". Carreras sings the part of the "head-over-heels-in-love-Werther" and he sounds every bit the heartbroken young man who kills himself when he realizes that he can't have the woman he loves because she promised her mother on her death-bed to marry another. His final aria takes me to the verge of a complete breakdown. He asks Charlotte to be buried in Christian ground, but if that's refused (because of him killing himself) he will rest in a solitary dale where a certain woman will come to visit and shed a tear on his grave. The aria is sung in a voice that contains so much emotions and sweetness that you can't help but being choked up.

Frederica Von Stade, one of the top mezzos of our time sings the part of Charlotte. Von Stade has a beautiful voice and she gives a wonderful portrait of a woman torn between two men; the one she's in love with and the one she's married to..... She keeps Werther at a distance to not give in to him. Still he guesses that she loves him, but when she refuses to admit it; it actually drives him to committing suicide. Charlotte finds him before he dies and at last she tells him that she loves him. But it's too late. Werther dies and leaves both Charlotte and the listener completely devastated.

I just loved Robert Lloyd in the role as the bailiff (Charlotte's father). It's always a pleasure listening to him singing and he really sounds like a loving father.

Isobel Buchanan who is Charlotte's sister Sophie is the one in this opera who maintains that one has to be happy. She has a lovely voice which sounds like that of a young woman and she gives a convincing performance throughout the entire opera.

Thomas Allen beautifully portrays Charlottes' husband Albert who goes from being a man that's understanding towards Werthers' love for his wife to a man who obviously has lost his patience with the infatuated young man. And I guess he also suspects that his wife reciprocates Werthers' feelings.

The opera is highly recommendable if you're prepared for the devastating experience it is. Not because of the singers; they are superb, but for the sake of the young love that's doomed right from the beginning. Keep lots of tissues at hand!"