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The Sunday Opera: Two by Franz Lehar: "Friederike" and "Der Sterngucker"

Franz Lehar might be best known for works like “The Merry Widow” and “The Count of Luxemburg,” but on this week’s Sunday Opera (1/24 3:00 p.m.), we’ll be looking at two of his lesser known works: “Friederike” and “Der Sterngucker” (“The Stargazer”).  “Friederike” is based on the “true” story of the unrequited relationship between Johannes Goethe and the young lady of the title.  When a new position is offered to Goethe, he believes his marriage to Friederike is assured.  However, his new patron has required the poet to be unmarried and encumbrance free which gives Goethe no choice but to leave Friederike, so he must reject his love and leave.   The cast includes Kristiane Kaiser, Sylvia Schwartz, Klaus Florian Vogt, and Daniel Behle with Ulf Schirmer conducting.  The second operetta is the charming “Der Sterngucker,” a frothy look at the confusions of a unworldly astronomer who manages to get himself engaged to three different women.  With the help of his sister and the brilliant thinking of the beloved family servant, all things work out, and happiness ensues.   This cast features Lothar Odinius, Claudia Rohrbach, Hanna Dora Sturludottir, and Robert Worle with Johannes Goritzki conducting.  We’ll complete the afternoon with more Lehar including his symphonic poem for tenor and orchestra entitled “Fever” based on his experiences with his brother who was severely wounded during World War I, and we’ll end with a familiar piece, the charming waltz, Gold and Silver.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.