As far as hopelessly mopey romantics go, Werther is the king among Morrisseys. A gloomy, brooding poet, Werther agrees to accompany Charlotte to a dance, because her fiancé is away. The sulky young man discovers late in the evening that he loves Charlotte and is on the cusp of declaring his love when Charlotte's father helpfully announces that Albert, the fiancé, has returned. The two marry, Werther writes Charlotte a truly heroic stack of letters and poetry fairly brimming over with suppressed, morose desire, and then Werther asks to borrow Albert's brace of pistols, because he'll be "leaving town soon." Can this possibly end well? Here's a hint: Jules Massenet's opera Werther is based on Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, so — no, it can't. Winter Opera Saint Louis (formerly New Opera Saint Louis) performs Werther in French with English supertitles at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (January 16 and 17) at Dale Williams Fine Art Center on the Missouri Baptist University campus (1 College Park Drive; 314-865-0038 or www.winteroperastl.org). Tickets are $10 to $45.
Sat., Jan. 16; Sun., Jan. 17, 2010