Columns linked to Edward Gardner

Committed Performances in Werther at the Royal Opera House, Co...

Sam Smith

Jules Massenet’s Werther, with libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann, was written between 1885 and 1887, although it did not premiere until 1892. Set in Wetzlar in Germany in the 1780s, and loosely based on Goethe’s epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, it concerns a melancholic poet who is besotted with Charlotte. Their feelings for each other begin to develop when her betrothed Albert is away, but he returns unexpectedly and Charlotte...


Amanda Majeski is an Outstanding Katya Kabanova at the Royal O...

Sam Smith

Katya Kabanova is often regarded as Leoš Janáček’s first ‘mature’ opera, despite the fact that he was 67 when it premiered in 1921. The libretto is by Vincenc Červinka, while the work is based on Alexander Ostrovsky’s play The Storm, but there can still be little doubt that the opera, and particularly its lead character, were inspired by the composer’s feelings for the far younger Kamila Stösslová. Set in the Russian town of...