Lehár, Franz (opera) (Christian)
- Andrew Lamb
(b Komáron, Hungary, April 30, 1870; d Bad Ischl, Oct 24, 1948). Austro-Hungarian composer and conductor. He was the leading operetta composer of the 20th century, being primarily responsible for giving the genre renewed vitality. His most successful operetta, Die lustige Witwe, has established a lasting place in the opera, as well as the operetta, repertory.
The family came originally from the eastern Sudetenland. His father, also Franz (1838–98), received his music education in Sternberg (now Šternberk) in Moravia, played in the orchestra of the Theater an der Wien, and was for nearly 40 years a military bandmaster and composer of dances and marches. In 1869 he married a Hungarian, Christine Neubrandt, and in the following years they moved between various Hungarian garrison towns. To improve his German their son was sent to Sternberg, where his uncle was the town’s musical director. During the summer he played the violin in his uncle’s orchestra at Bad Ullersdorf, and at the age of 12 he entered the Prague Conservatory, studying the violin with Bennewitz and theory with Foerster. He also took some private lessons in composition from Fibich and received some advice from Dvořák....