Werther reviews

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The Times ★★★★

Grange Park Opera’s new production gives us both a Werther and a Charlotte to reckon with

“Leonardo Capalbo looks every inch the romantic poet and sings with passionate ardour, turning Werther into a rounded figure, whose love is reciprocated, taunting him when it later lies out of reach.”

“Ginger Costa-Jackson’s Charlotte feels equally real, the depth of her emotions matching Werther’s, the impact of her choices weighing heavily, expressed in a mezzo that’s like rich woodsmoke.”

“Christopher Hopkins, conducting the Gascoigne Orchestra, gives us plenty of ominous atmosphere”

“The children’s chorus’s Noel is beautifully fresh at first, and, at the fateful close, an unwittingly cruel reminder of all that’s been lost.”


The Stage ★★★★★

Cooked to perfection

“This production of Jules Massenet’s Werther, directed by John Doyle, delivers a satisfying serving of full-on Romanticism, cooked to perfection thanks to superb singing and excellent playing by the Gascoigne Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Hopkins.”

“As the young lovers, Leonardo Capalbo and Ginger Costa-Jackson are ideal in their roles, their tremendous singing electrifying their scenes together.”

“Dominic Sedgwick is a fine Albert, while Robin Horgan and Ross Cumming, as the louche friends of the Bailiff, bring welcome comic touches.”

“Productions of operas from that era risk being gooey and sentimental. But this Werther finds the right balance, evoking the feelings of the era without overstatement.”


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The Arts Desk ★★★★

Italian-American principal singers with strong chemistry. Containment and explosion well balanced in a strong show

“Leonardo Capalbo as Werther and Ginger Costa-Jackson as Charlotte both project the big emotions well, and have voices of focus and immediacy which carry easily in this relatively intimate theatre.”

“The Gascoigne Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Hopkins, excelled both in the careful and neat parts of the score, mostly at the beginning, and the episodes of unleashed passion where more really is more.”

“Whereas Charlotte is a mezzo soprano – and Costa-Jackson’s lower register really is quite glorious – the character of the younger sister Sophie is a light soprano, and Iria Perestrelo brought not just great vocal craft but also superb French diction to it”


Bachtrack ★★★★

Werther in the woods: an intense new production at Grange Park Opera

“Directed by John Doyle with Edwardian costumes from Gabrielle Dalton, this Werther is intensely gripping.”

“In the title role, Leonardo Capalbo fully provided the necessary romantic credentials with his bel canto that traversed his opening eulogy to nature through to his passionate death cries. His bravura manner, a little unwieldy at times, was delivered with tremendous fervour, ravishing in “Pourquoi me réveiller?” and always underlining the self-absorbed and self-destructive lover that he is.”

“Ginger Costa-Jackson, as the dutiful and maternal Charlotte, was no less impassioned, her dark-hued mezzo thrilling in Act 3’s letter scene, where she unleashed her inner turmoil in a performance of blazing intensity.”


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Opera Scene

Passion and control

“John Doyle’s stark yet still beautiful staging of Massenet’s Werther continued what seems a probably unintended season of productions where the soprano dominates even if, as here, a man has the title role.”

“The Gascoigne Orchestra conducted by Christopher Hopkins, sweeping along with the intense score, makes full affect with Massenet’s grand climatic moments.”

“Ginger Costa-Jackson’s gorgeous mezzo always hints at fire beneath that surface, bursting into flame in the celebrated letter scene and the denouement.”


Opera Today

Into the woods … Werther at Grange Park Opera

“There’s plenty of fervour from the two American singers in the central roles.”

“Looking every inch the Romantic hero, and acting with naturalism, Capalbo sings with unflagging passion, radiant and absolutely secure at the top, fluently embracing Massenet’s lyricism.”

“Dominic Sedgwick is touching as the staid and sturdy Albert, hinting at his genuine feelings of love and his vulnerability.”


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The Telegraph ★★

“The children sing their carols brightly.”

“Ginger Costa-Jackson conveys the anguish of Charlotte’s conflicted feelings very well.”