Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Renée Fleming Heads The Line-Up Of New Productions At MET

Renée Fleming under the hot pursuit of Nathan Gunn (Photo: Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera)
The Metropolitan Opera announced its 2014-15 season today. Check out the online brochure here. Several new productions are added to the repertoire and many works created under the Peter Gelb regime will be revived. The New Year's Eve Gala will be focused on

Susan Stroman's new interpretation of Franz Lehár's 110-year old operetta
Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow as it will be performed in English) starring mega-star Renée Fleming in her role debut as Hanna. "The Merry Widow is an operetta by the Austro–Hungarian composer Franz Lehár. The librettists, Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, based the story – concerning a rich widow, and her countrymen's attempt to keep her money in the principality by finding her the right husband – on an 1861 comedy play, L'attaché d'ambassade (The Embassy Attaché) by Henri Meilhac. The operetta has enjoyed extraordinary international success since its 1905 premiere in Vienna and continues to be frequently revived and recorded. Film and other adaptations have also been made. Well-known music from the score includes the 'Vilja Song,' 'Da geh' ich zu Maxim' ('You'll Find Me at Maxim's'), and the 'Merry Widow Waltz'. The operetta was first performed at the
Theater an der Wien in Vienna on December 30, 1905, with Mizzi Günther as Hanna, Louis Treumann as Danilo, Siegmund Natzler as Baron Zeta and Annie Wünsch as Valencienne. It was Lehár's first major success, becoming internationally the best-known operetta of its era. Lehár subsequently made changes for productions in London in 1907 (two new numbers), and Berlin in the 1920s, but the definitive version is basically that of the original production. The operetta toured Austria and in 1906 enjoyed productions in Hamburg's Neues Operetten-Theater, Berlin's Berliner Theater (starring Gustav Matzner as Danilo and Marie Ottmann as Hanna, who made the first complete recording in 1907), and Budapest's Magyar Szinhaz. Its English adaptation by Basil Hood, with lyrics by Adrian Ross, became
a sensation in London in 1907 and ran for an extraordinary 778 performances, followed by extensive British tours. The first performance in Paris was at the Théâtre Apollo on April 28, 1909. Many international productions, as well as revivals followed, as did sequels, spoofs and film versions. The operetta originally had no overture; Lehár wrote one for the Vienna Philharmonic to perform at his 70th birthday concert in April 1940." [Source] For a full synopsis, click

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