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French crayfish in Massenet’s Werther

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Jules Massenet’s opera Werther is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Goethe, and although there are many differences between the two works, Massenet’s opera does maintain all the tension of the original, leading up to the dramatic suicide of the hero. The story of the terrible consequences which Goethe’s novel had in its own day (it was written in 1774), and the story of how Massenet came to write an operatic version of it (not to mention the many operas which are based on it but which bear little resemblance to it whatsoever) are all told in other OperaStory articles. What concerns us here is the edible element of the opera…

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