Die lustige Witwe, Franz Lehár

Title Die lustige Witwe
English Title The merry widow
Composer Franz Lehár
Librettists Victor Léon and Leo Stein
Language German, Dutch translation available
Genre Light opera in three acts
First performance 28 december 1905, Theater an der Wien, Vienna
Time of action Early 20th century in Paris
Place of action
  1. A lounge in the embassy of the Balkan state Pontewedro
  2. Garden of the Glawari-mansion
  3. A copy of Maxim’s restaurant, rebuilt in the Glawari-mansion
Main parts
  • Baron Mirko Zeta, ambassador of Pontewedro in Paris, 2nd tenor
  • Valencienne, his wife, soprano
  • Count Danilo Danilovich, secretary to the ambassador, tenor or high baritone
  • Hanna, youthful widow of the banker Glawari, soprano
  • Camille de Rosillon, 1st tenor
Prominence of chorus Mediocre

2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 harp, timpani/percussion, strings (possibly Buhnenmusik)

Special demands Small orchestra on stage during 1st act, strum orchestra during first part 2nd act
Full score and orchestral parts Available
Level The work is not particularly difficult to perform
Length Three acts; total time: about 2½ hours
Music One of the most popular works in the German repertoire. Many familiar tunes

The Pontewedrine widow Hanna Glawari lives a luxury life in Paris. The millions that she inherited threaten to be lost to her fatherland if she marries a Frenchman. Pontewedro's ambassador in Paris, Baron Mirko Zeta, is doing everything he can to prevent this and sends his secretary Danilo Danilovich to woo her.

Costumes Partly early 20th century Parisian chic, partly Pontewedrine folkloristic costumes
Link The Merry Widow | Franz Lehár

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