Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe)

Primary Creator
Composer Franz Lehar
Singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Singer Eberhard Wachter
Orchestra Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra
Conductor Lovro von Matacic
Duration78 minutes
StyleMusical Theatre/Light Opera
Name of WorkMerry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe)
Production Date1905
Production Location

Current Location

Media TypesCD
General Notes

It is the music rather than the plot or libretto that gives this operetta its power.  This performance, performed by  Elisabeth Schwartzkopf as Hanna and Eberhard Wachter  as Danilo, conducted by Lovro von Matacic,  avoids treating the familiar music in the  plodding way that sounds like 'I've heard this before.'   All its beauty, originality and complexity is expressed.  It is sung in the original German, rather than any of the English translations.  


The ambassador of poverty-stricken Pontevedro is holding a ball in Paris, where he is hoping to have a wealthy widow -- Hanna -- marry another Pontevedrian, in order to prevent the country's bankruptcy.  The man chosen is a secretary at the embassy - Danilo.  But when Hanna and Danilo meet, they rekindle an old love.  And because he loves her, Danilo refuses to marry her -- for money.  After a series of misunderstandings they finally do agree to marry, for love.


Love can be gay and tender, solemn and lighthearted, painful and joyous.

Emotional Sum or Sense-of-life

Love brings gaiety and joy to life.


Operetta, romance, waltz