St. Petersburg Theatre of Musical Comedy
15 detsember 2016 kell 19:00
Nordea Kontserdimaja

St. Petersburg Theatre of Musical Comedy

The Merry Widow

Operetta in two parts

Directed by Miklos Szinetar (Hungary)
Set designer —  Miklos Fehir (Hungary)
Costume designer — Fanni Kamenes (Hungary)
Ballet master — Laszlo Petho (Hungary)

‘The Merry Widow’ is one of the most popular operettas in the world and Lehar’s most well-known work. The wittiness and positive lyricism of ‘The Merry Widow’ have long been praised by musical critics and wider public alike. For example, in 1907 Sergei Rachmaninov wrote in one of his letters: ‘Even if written nowadays, it is still ingenious… A marvellous piece!’.

‘The Merry Widow’ which was first staged in 1905 brought international fame to Franz Lehar. Today, the operetta is one of the most frequently performed compositions of the renown composer and it is almost impossible to find a musical theatre which repertoire would not contain ‘The Merry Widow’.

Franz Lehar, whose music has often been compared to that of Puccini, has claimed that with ‘The Merry Widow’ he has found the style he has always strived for. Lehar was the founder of the new Viennese operetta which was subsequently further developed by Kalman. The base for this new style of operetta was the conflict of interests which, however strong, always resulted in a happy ending. The plot included the change of lyrical and comical episodes and all characters had interesting and varying personalities. Dance, as a vital new element, was also added to the genre. In addition, Lehar was praised for successfully uniting ‘the Slavic melancholy with French piquancy’.

Lehar wrote: ‘My goal is to ennoble the operetta. The spectator has to live through the piece, not only to watch and listen to silly things’.

The plot

Small republic Monteverdo is in danger. Its gold reserves, equal to twenty million, belong to young widow Hanna Glawari and if she marries a foreigner, Monteverdo will become bankrupt. Around this ‘disquieting’ circumstance unfold the events of the clever operetta by Lehar — ‘The Merry Widow’. So, it becomes necessary to guard the widow from foreign admirers in order for her millions not to become the possession of another state. The noble rescue mission of the Motherland is given to the ambassador of the republic in Paris – baron Zetta. When men find out about Hanna’s millions they all go mad – every single one of them considers himself a candidate for her hand. The appearance of Hanna herself inflames their passion even more. And while everybody makes plans, thinking how to best seduce this rich beauty, Hanna meets the man of her life: charming, courageous, ironic and not wishing to marry millions – he wants to marry for love.