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Franz Lehár - The Merry Widow - Overture

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Uploaded on Oct 9, 2011

The Merry Widow (German: Die lustige Witwe) 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 30 December 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.

The operetta originally had no overture; Lehár wrote one for the Vienna Philharmonic to perform at his 70th birthday concert in April 1940.

Photo: The librettist Viktor Léon, Leo Stein and the composer Franz Lehár.

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