Even though Massenet wanted to repeat the sensational success of »Manon« with »Werther«, he refused the instructions of the director of the Paris Opéra-Comique, who demanded he copy the form and style of his triumphant opera. Instead, Massenet sought new creative paths and forms of expression, which is why he both explored the work of Richard Wagner and experimented with orchestration. As such, he added to the instrumentation a saxophone solo, which enabled him to feature a seemingly proto-impressionistic musical score. That resulted in the Paris Opéra-Comique’s rejecting the work, and Massenet was forced to search for another stage, ultimately accepting an offer from the Vienna Court Opera, where »Werther« would finally have its successful premiere in 1892. In contrast to Goethe’s model, Massenet’s focus is not entirely placed on the title character but also on a – from a dramaturgical perspective – significantly elevated Charlotte. In addition to dealing with Werther's desperate love, the opera musically follows the complex psychological development of this young woman. Notably, the resulting great scope for interpretation ensures that the most important singers of each generation take on both roles: Piotr Beczała will finally embody this important part of his repertoire for the first time in Vienna and Gaëlle Arquez will make her worldwide role debut as Charlotte.