Lustige Witwe, Die (‘The Merry Widow’)
- Andrew Lamb
- , revised by Robert J. Dennis
(‘The Merry Widow’)
Operette in three acts by Franz Lehár to a libretto by Victor Léon and Leo Stein after Henri Meilhac’s L’attaché d’ambassade; Vienna, Theater an der Wien, 30 December 1905.
Offered first to Heuberger, the libretto of Die lustige Witwe inspired Lehár’s first international success and the most commercially successful operetta of its day. It has held the stage ever since and is now firmly recognized as a part of the operatic repertory. It was first performed with Mizzi Günther (Hanna), Louis Treumann (Danilo), Siegmund Natzler (Baron Zeta), Annie Wünsch (Valencienne), and Karl Meister (Camille). Lehár composed two additional numbers for London in 1907, and various numbers were interpolated for Berlin revue productions of the 1920s, but the definitive score is essentially unchanged from 1905. Die lustige Witwe was recorded in 1907, the first substantially complete recording of a Viennese operetta. Lehár composed an overture for the work in 1940...