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Vittorio Grigolo in Jules Massenet’s Werther at The Metropolitan Opera 2017 by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

Tenor Vittorio Grigolo, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, and soprano Anna Christy in Jules Massenet’s Werther at The Metropolitan Opera, New York, conducted by Edward Gardner; February 16 – March 9, 2017.


Tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

Tenor sensation Vittorio Grigolo, on the heels of his stunning performances in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, takes on the title role of Werther, the young poet who seeks the unattainable love of the beautiful Charlotte, sung by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. Edward Gardner conducts Richard Eyre’s visual feast of a production.
A “dramatic production… masterfully done” – Huffington Post
“As Werther, the Italian tenor’s singing lives at extremes, at one moment poetically hushed, at the next full-throttle. Is it too much? No — this opera is about letting go of inhibition and Grigolo is a whirlwind of emotion.” – Financial Times



Vittorio Grigolo was born in Arezzo and raised in Rome. As a gifted child he was chosen to become part of Sistine Chapel Choir as a soloist soon studying at the Schola Puerorum at the Sistine Chapel. At age 13 he played the “Pastorello” in Puccini’s Tosca at Rome’s opera house, where he shared the stage with Pavarotti; and was given the nickname “Il Pavarottino”. By 18, he joined the Vienna Opera Company and later became the youngest man to perform in Milan’s La Scala at age 23. In April 2006, Grigolo made his debut with a concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, he returned to the RAH to appear alongside such singers as Plácido Domingo and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, at the Classical Brit Awards evening, performing arias taken from his repertoire. In 2010, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Rodolfo in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s Bohème. Three of the main characters, as well as the conductor, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, were all appearing for the first time. His recent Met performances include the role of Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in 2015 and as Romeo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette 2017. Grigolo received The Caruso Award in 2015 from the City of Sorrento for his contribution towards spreading the Italian culture around the world and was awarded the Tiberini d’Oro Award in recognition of his successful career in opera. His recordings include In the Hands of Love in 2006, West Side Story with the Leonard Bernstein Foundation in 2007, The Italian Tenor in 2010, Arrivederci in 2011, Ave Maria in 2013, The Romantic Hero 2014, and Italia Un Sogno in 2016. He will be one of the operatic stars at the Met’s 50th Anniversary Gala.
Werther is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet (12 May 1842 – 13 August 1912) to a French libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann (who used the pseudonym Henri Grémont). It is loosely based on the German epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which was based both on fact and on Goethe’s own early life. Earlier examples of operas using the story were made by Kreutzer (1792) and Pucitta (1802). Massenet started composing Werther in 1885, completing it in 1887. He submitted it to Leon Carvalho, the director of the Paris Opéra-Comique, that year, but Carvalho declined to accept it on the grounds that the scenario was too serious. With the disruption of the fire at the Opéra-Comique and Massenet’s work on other operatic projects (especially Esclarmonde), it was put to one side, until the Vienna Opera, pleased with the success of Manon, asked the composer for a new work. Werther received its premiere on 16 February 1892 (in a German version translated by Max Kalbeck) at the Imperial Theatre Hofoper in Vienna.

Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. If you wish to book photography services, receive information, and/or license images for commercial and/or promotional use please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

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Sources: The Metropolitan Opera, Wikipedia, Opera News

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