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Lisa della Casa is the Merry Widow this week on The Lyric Stage.

This Sunday (11/6) we have a 1962 highlights version of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, featuring Lisa Della Casa as the Merry Widow and John Reardon as the Count Danilo. One of the most popular stage pieces ever written, The Merry Widow premiered in Vienna in 1905, and has held stage continuously throughout the world since.

The story is based on an 1861 comedy, L'attaché d'ambassade (The Embassy Attaché) by Henry Meilhac, the same Henri Meilhax who wrote or collaborated to write the librettos for Carmen, Manon, and La Vie Parissiene, among many others.

The setting is Pontevedia. Baron Zeta is desperate that the wealthy widow Hanna Glavari marry a Pontevedrian man so that her fortune remains in the country. He attempts to match her and his handsome attache, but even though Hanna and Danillo are past lovers, Dannio says no - he doesn't want it to look like he is just a gold digger. But when Hanna reveals that she will lose the money if she remarries, Danilo joyously asks for her hand in marriage. Quickly, she informs him that she will lose her money – because she will give it to her new husband.

John Reardon sings the Count, and Franz Allers conducts the American Opera Society Orchestra and Chorus.