We gave it a B+
Werther, Massenet’s oh-so-French setting of Goethe’s ach-so-Deutsch novel, has long been the guiltiest of my guilty pleasures. Yes, < I know that Massenet is considered the Andrew Lloyd Webber of his day, a schlock tunesmith and audience manipulator. But I don't care. Poor dumb, doomed Werther's hopeless crush on Charlotte is one of Romanticism's great love stories, and Massenet responded to it with his finest, most affecting score. The French vocal style has all but vanished now, but Thill and Vallin remind audiences of how it used to be done in a performance that mixes pathos and passion in equal parts. And one can understand every word, too.