The Merry Widow is an operetta in 3 acts and is part of the Met. Opera series for 2014-2015 in HD showing at the Dendy Cinema. It had been in the repertoire since the premiere in 1905 and was an overnight success from the get go. Not until the 400th performance did Franz Lehar write the wonderful overture. It quickly became a worldwide success, first in Europe then London and U.S.A. and last, but not least, Australia. Originally written in German, it has been translated into many languages including Arabic.
It is a combination of Mills and Boon and My Fair Lady set to music. This production by Susan Stroman is lavish in the extreme, featuring 380 costumes and scenery befitting the Belle Époque era of the turn of the century Paris.
Andrew Davis conducts with enthusiasm and style, the singing (with the exception of a disappointing tenor, which for many including yours truly, is de regueur) is, as always at the Met, world class. It is as funny and silly as it is meant to be, but it doesn't work.
A rich, fairly young widow from a small country [Renee Fleming] which is almost broke moves to Paris. The powers at home are terrified she will fall in love with a charming Frenchman and horror, the money will leave the Pontevedro and go to the new husband. Paris the city of love, is a great place to flirt and cheat on husbands and wives, which everyone is up to. It's OK for the blokes but not the wives. Indiscretions and mistakes are made but somehow it's all covered up. Ho hum!
There are 3 scene changes, a ball, a party and a night club, the famous Maxim's. Life was one long party for the rich and titled who had nothing better to do than lose fans with secret messages on them for the wrong people to find, then contrive a plausible explanation to the injured party who is, or pretends to be, gullible. Harmless fun or silly nonsense? The theatre was packed so this must be what the public want.
The next in the Met series is Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" from April 11th. I look forward to seeing you there.