Werther - 1983

program cover

The UCLA Opera Theater and Univeristy Symphony Orchestra
Samuel Krachmalnick, Director
John Hall, Stage Director

(in French)

The Romantic Opera of Goethe’s famous story
Lyric Drama in 4 acts after Goethe

Libretto by
Edouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann

Music by
Jules Massenet

(Premiere performance, Vienna, February 16, 1892)

Fridays & Saturdays,
April 22, 23, 29, 30, 1983 - 8:00 p.m.
Schoenberg Hall - UCLA



Act I - The Bailiff’s home


Act II - The Village Square


Act III - Charlotte and Albert’s home

Act IV - Werther’s room

The Story

Act I
In the garden of his house in Wetzlar, the Bailiff teaches his younger children a Christmas carol, though it is only July (“Noël, Noël!”). His cronies Johann and Schmidt drop by to invite him to a nieghboring inn. As the Bailiff’s daughter Sophie enters, the three men comment on the seriousness of young Werther, an acquaintance. Schmidt then asks when Albert, the Bailiff’s future som-in-law, will return to Wetzlar, but the old widower does not know. He goes into the house to await Charlotte, his eldest daughter, who is engaged to Albert. Werther now enters and, left alone, rhapsodizes on the beauty of the scene (“O nature, pleine de grace”), the sound of happy children heightens his sense of well-being. When Charlotte appears, he draws aside as she prepares the evening meal for her brothers and sisters. The Bailiff introduces Charlotte to Werther, who in Albert’s absence is to escort her to a ball. Charlotte’s friends, on their way to the party, are greeted by Sophie, in whose charge her sister leaves the children. Werther, struck by Charlotte’s kindness and charm, falls in love with her (“O spectacle ideal d’amour et d’innocence”). The couple leaves, Sophie sending her father to join his friends at the inn. Albert appears unexpectedly and is disappointed not to find Charlotte; he and Sophie discuss the forthcoming nuptials. After lingering briefly in the garden to voice his love for Charlotte (“Quelle prière de reconnaissance et d’amour”). Albert moves off. In the moonlight Charlotte and Werther return from the ball, he pleading his love, she pleading family responsibilities (“Il faut nous séparer”). As he repeats his declarations, the Bailiff passes by, observing that Albert has returned, Charlotte explains that as her mother lay dying she promised to marry Albert; then she runs into the house. Werther despairs that Charlotee could ever belong to another man.

Act II
By the town square, three months after Charlotte’s and Albert’s marriage. Johann and Schmidt sit before the inn while inside the church the congregation celebrates the pastor’s golden wedding. Johann and Schmidt enter the inn as the contented Albert and Charlotee walk to church (“Voici trois mois”). They are followed by the dejected Werther, who sinks onto a bench (“J’ aurais pressé sur ma poitrine”); he is soon surprised when Albert tries to comfort him. Deeply moved, Werther pledges friendship. Sophie, noticing his sadness, tries to cheer him by asking for the first dance that evening (“Du hai soleil”). After she and Albert go, Werther cries he still loves Charlotte, who now comes out of the church. Passionately he reminds her of the time they first met (“Ah! qu’ il est loin ce jour”); coolly she reminds him she is now a married woman. When he insists he can never love another, she tells him he must leave Wetzlar until Christmas. Werther, alone, prays to God to accept his suicide (“Lorsque l’enfant revient d’un voyage”). When Sophie gaily interrupts him, he rushes away with hardly a word. The tearful girl is comforted by Charlotte, who is visibly moved. Albert observes to himself that Werther loves his wife.

Alone on Christmas eve, Charlotte clutches Werther’s despairing letter and admits how much he means to her (“letter scene: “Je vous écris de ma petite chambre”). Fearfully she reads the last letter, in which he suggests she will soon weep for him. Sophie bursts in laden with Christmas toys and tries to make light of her sister’s depression (“Ah! le rire est béni”), but when she mentions Werther, Charlotte cries broken heartedly (“Va, laisse couler mes larmes”). Alone, she prays for strength. Suddenly Werther appears. Charlotte, trying to stay calm, tells him that everything remains as before. Not noticing his preoccupation with a pair of Albert’s pistols, she hands him some verses by Ossian that he had started to translate for her; he begins to read of storms and sorrows (“Pourquoi me réveiller”). When Charlotte can no longer bear the pain in his words, he sees in her tears a confession of love (“Ah! ce premier baiser, mon rêve et mon envie”). He woos her ecstatically, but she runs from his embrace with a final farewell. Werther leaves, resolved on death. When Albert summons Charlotte and questions her about her distracted look, she becomes confused. A message arrives from Werther asking to borrow Albert’s pistols; with seeming indifference, Albert tells Charlotte to give them to the servant. Terror-stricken, she does so. the moment Albert leaves, she runs out into the night, praying she may find Werther in time to stop him (orchestral interlude: La Nuit de Noël).

Act IV
In Werther’s room Charlotte, finding him mortally wounded, confesses she has always loved him and kisses him (“Et moi, Werther, et moi, je t’aime”). As the distant sound of the children’s happy Christmas carols punctuates his delirium Werther welcomes death, asking to be buried in a favorite corner of the churchyard.


Robert Heydecker

Schmidt, his friend
Alan Nitikman

Johann, his friend
Jaime Snyder

Werther, a young poet
Ronaldo Gonzales - 4/22, 4/30
Steven Williams - 4/23, 4/29

Charlotte, the Bailiff’s daughter
Susan LaCroix - 4/22, 4/30
Bonnie Hall - 4/23, 4/29

Sophie, her sister
Cheryl Dooley - 4/22, 4/30
Patricia Sheridan - 4/23, 4/29

Albert, Charlotte’s fiance
John Goodell

The Bailiff’s children
Nicholas Abruzzo
Zachary Cassel
Jay Martin
Glenn Purcell
Christian Serrano
Gareth Janczak

Brublmann, a young villager
Michael Daniels

Kathchen, his betrothed
Elizabeth Cosbey

Andrew Furco
Barbara Hancock
Therese Lee
Carole Schaffer
Der-Shin Hwang
Karen Arneson


Samuel Krachmalnick, Director
Bruce Blair, Teaching Assistant

Violin I
Gregory Maldonado,
Associate Concertmaster
+Shirley Marcus,
Associate Concertmaster
Isaac Chen
Joli Einem
Jonathan Glonek
Vernon Humphries
Andrew Picken
Albert Yen

Violin II
*Ingrid Hoesli
Beth Alpert
Maryanne Donat
Raquel Gordon
Helen Kuo
Erin McFadden
Linda Scranage

*Robert Hancock
Marguerite Enright
Janice Ford
Lucas Richman
Mack Steagall

*Adrienne Grossman
Deanna Bayless
Alex Ferber
Marc Oka
+Nils Oliver
Samuel Schoen
Julie Silverstein
Janet Yun

String Bass
*Gregory Sarchet
Jaime Raigoza
+Paul Zibits

*David Reider
Robin Schoemann
Brent Sverdloff

Robin Schoemann

*Kenneth Davis
Reginaldo Daniel

English Horn
Reginaldo Daniel

*Leigh Hodges
Daniel Lucas

Alto Saxophone
Frank Silva

*Cynthia Pearce
William Wheelock

French Horn
*Gregory White
Cary Hara
Mat Matsumune
Kristi Rohdy

*Craig Smith
Richard Raphael

*Paul De Weese
Jill Tieso

Bass Trombone
J. Emanuel Dufrasne-Gonzalez

Randi Levine

John Parks

Johanna Johnson

Stephanie Kaufmann

Roger Malouf

+ Faculty
* Principal


Samuel Krachmalnick

Stage Director
John Hall

Scenic & Lighting Design
Michael Todd Fontana

Costume Design
Judith Grant

Richard Parker

Wanda Flanton Leavey

Robert Deman

Program/Poster Design
Robin Weisz

Publicity Coordinator
Kathleen Moon

Production Management
Campus Activities Services Office

Edythe Johnson

French Diction
Sybil D. Hast

Scenic Artist
Jack McCullagh

Musical Coaching
Roger Malouf

The UCLA Opera Theater

Samuel Krachmalnick

John Hall

Coaching & Repertoire
Mario Carta, James Low,
Roger Malouf, Peggy Sheffield

French & German Diction
Sybil D. Hast

Rehearsal Coordinator
Roger Malouf

Costume Mistress
Edythe Johnson