Massenet: Werther (In English) - Brecknock, Baker, Roberts, Wheatley, Tomlinson; Mackerras. London, 1977
Listen to a Sample:
Werther gets the English treatment in this performance from London, and even if a bit of the French flavor gets lost in translation, the singers still give poised yet impassioned performances. Janet Baker as Charlotte is a revelation. The role gives Baker ample opportunity to unleash her sterling mezzo-soprano in a way that wasn’t always afforded her in the more restrained world of British music. However, in typical fashion she manages to give into the soaring lines without ever untethering herself from her deep connection to the words. John Brecknock’s is certainly not the most glamorous Werther but he manages to embody the brooding quality of the character without ever letting him descend into caricature. The rest of the supporting cast is very good and includes a young John Tomlinson as Johann. Fun fact: Ian Bostridge is one of the children! The sound is excellent.