Opera Australia Werther Michael Fabiano - photo by Prudence UptonCelebrated international tenor Michael Fabiano will make his role debut as the titular role in Elijah Moshinsky’s contemporary production of Werther, when he returns to the Sydney Opera House this summer.

In the ultimate Romantic opera, Massenet’s rich score magnifies the drama and emotion of the story. Werther falls hopelessly in love with Charlotte in lyrical, melodious phrases. As Charlotte chooses duty over heart, Werther’s turmoil is palpable in restless music that bursts out of an enormous orchestra. The French composer’s ability to evoke mood and moment in music is on brilliant display.

Moshinsky’s production of Werther that premiered in 1989, maintains the opera’s Romantic era melodrama but gives it a modern and sleek, present-day aesthetic, including the Director’s insistence that each time it is revived, new costumes reflecting current fashion trends must be included.

Renowned for his intense, character-driven performances and described as “opera’s risk-taking tenor” by the New York Times, Fabiano will tackle the musical and emotional challenges that this rarely performed, Romantic opera presents. His third opera with Opera Australia, where he has become a firm favourite with audiences, Fabiano will undoubtedly deliver another impassioned performance.

Starring alongside Fabiano is exciting Russian soprano Elena Maximova. Following her company debut last year, Opera Australia is delighted to welcome Maximova back in the role of Charlotte, the object of Werther’s affections. Maximova will bring experience to the role, having previously performed it in Russia and Japan, with reviews noting the “sincerity and passion in her interpretation” (Bachtrack, 2016).

Joining Fabiano and Maximova on stage is rising-star Australian soprano Stacey Alleaume, whose career has been going from strength to strength, receiving rave reviews for her performance as Fiorilla in Rossini’s The Turk in Italy in 2018. She will make three role debuts with Opera Australia in 2019, starting with Sophie in Werther.

This stellar cast will perform under the baton of Italian Maestro, Carlo Montanaro. After receiving high praise for his involvement in OA’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor (also starring Fabiano) in 2018, Montanaro will once again bring his conducting poise and grace to the Joan Sutherland Theatre, this time leading Massenet’s passionate score.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s powerful novel The Sorrows of Young Werther was Massenet’s inspiration for this dramatic opera. The influential novel, released in 1774, is considered to be pivotal to early romantic literature and even prompted young men to carry around glass vials of their tears to prove the depth of their emotions. Last presented by Opera Australia a decade ago, this romantic opera remains timeless.

Jules Massenet was the most prominent and prolific composer of French opera in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with more than 30 operas to his credit. His works include CendrillonChérubin, Don Quichotte, Esclarmonde, Le Cid, Le roi de LahoreManonThaïs and Werther. His operas are now widely accepted as well-crafted and intelligent products of the Belle Époque.

Conductor: Carlo Montanaro Director: Elijah Moshinsky Featuring: Michael Fabiano, Elena Maximova, Stacey Alleaume, Luke Gabbedy, Richard Anderson, Nicholas Jones, Andrew Moran, Andrew Jones, Anna Dowsley, Opera Australia Children’s Chorus, Opera Australia Orchestra Co-Director: Constantine Costi Set Designer: Michael Yeargan Costume Consultant: Sabina Myers Original Lighting Design: Robert Bryan

Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season continues to 11 March 2019
Information and Bookings: www.opera.org.au

Image: Michael Fabiano as Werther in Opera Australia’s 2019 production of Werther at the Sydney Opera House – photo by Prudence Upton