I fell in love with Massenet's Werther the first time I heard it. I have not seen it on stage and I don't have a DVD but this recording is just so smooth and flowing and the performers are well suited. If you are a Carreras fan then this is for you. The character of Werther is very suited to his magnificent voice. If I could have this performance on DVD as well as CD it would be top of my favourites.
I don't find the story depressing but it is sad and I like to listen to Werther when I am feeling sad because it reminds me that there is always something worse happening in the world than what I am feeling sad about.
This double CD set comes with a booklet so if you are unfamiliar with the story, it is right there for you to read. I associate the story with Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin which is also a sad story with sad music although of course the music is quite different and if I could have only one, it would be Werther.