Brott Blog: The Merry Widow

“It’s a love story for the ages. It’s the musical comedy of the opera world. It has been described as “one of the best romcoms ever written”

It’s The Merry Widow, Franz Lehar’s irresistible operetta. 

The tale takes place is in Pontevedro, a country on the brink of economic disaster, and follows a wealthy widow as she searches for a new husband. Rich as she is, her countrymen fear she’ll find a match outside of Pontevedro, and subsequently take her fortune with her. In an attempt to keep her fortune in the province, the men set out to find her the “right” husband and keep her close to home. 

Upon its 1905 premiere in Vienna, Austria, The Merry Widowhad audiences and critics hooked. It pushed boundaries with scandalous sensuality and humourous panache. Lehar’s creation was so popular that it has been revived and recorded frequently in different styles throughout the century, including a Hollywood film. His catchy melodies dub him a master of the hummable tune. It is with a great deal of excitement that the National Academy Orchestra brings these tunes to life this Thursday evening.

The cast will star David Curry and Miriam Khalil as Danilo and Hanna, forming a spectacular pair that is sure to keep the audience captivated and entertained. Of course, the performance would be incomplete without the incredible supporting roles, played by John Fanning, Daniela Agostino, Matt Chittick, Jamal Al Titi, and Bud Roach. 

With its long history of performance modifications, the anticipation for BrottOpera’s interpretation is electrifying. Having taken the English script and pared it down to accommodate the semi-staged version, this experienced cast will certainly do it justice. Curry knows this translation as if he wrote it himself, having sung it in nearly 100 performances as Camille, and played Danilo with the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Britain. 

With the semi-staged performance comes a twist – there will be no chorus. How will this work? Very well, according to the Maestro. The score doesn’t rely on the chorus, and the seven singers take on this responsibility with ease, only adding a greater focus to their characters and stories. 

The tale would be incomplete without a stunning setting. Once again, the stage will be adorned by the charming artworks of Jacqui Templeton-Muir, ensuring that the scene will be set and the music will transport us right back to the fin-de-siecle.

Join the National Academy Orchestra, conducted by Boris Brott, for a night filled with comic intrigue and familiar songs, such as “Vilja” and the “Merry Widow Waltz”. The performance will take place on Thursday, October 3rd and 7:30pm in the FirstOntario Concert Hall.