|DEN GLADE ENKE WENCHE FOSS OG KNUT WIGERT I "DEN GLADE ENKE" 1956. FOTO: STURLASON|
I have seen this operetta 3x :Die Lustige Witwe 1984-01-28, 2000-06-21, 2007-04-18.
I am obviously to young to have seen it when Norwegian Diva Wenche Foss was Hanna Glawari in Nationaltheatret in 1956, a decade before I was even born. On the photos Knut Wigert as Count Danilo. And it was with this photo I learnt about Opera and Operetta and The Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe in German, Den Glade Enke in Norwegian).
OK. Operetta is harder than Opera, but it is also lighter. The difficulties is that you are expected to talk and sing, and to do both well. Operetta is usually comedic so the singer is not just expected to do dialogues well but also to get the timing right. Shifting between singing operetta arias and duets etc that can be as difficult as most opera arias, duets etc and then to talk naturally in a theatre that is hard. And then it is language. All in the original German, or translated. Operetta can be wonderful when done right.
Hanna Glawari is the Merry Widow, a very rich widow. She is so rich that her money could save the economy of Pontevedro (Montenegro). Then there is Count Danilo Danilowitch, her former lover, who "works" in the Embassy of Montenegro (Pontevedro in the operetta). He wants her but he does not want to marry for money. But the embassy is decided he must woo her. All ends well.
Vilja Song and Maxim song is the most famous from this operetta. And of course, Lippen schweigen.
More information: The Merry Widow, Maxim, Montenegro, Franz Lehar
For reviews from my travels, see www.operaduetstravel.com