A Buoyant ‘Merry Widow’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson star in Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow”

Ooh-la-la! As John Oliver mentioned in response to the recent attacks on France’s capital, Paris will endure – largely due to its rich culture and passionate people. And the delightful comic operetta by Hungarian composer Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow, celebrates the very best of Paris.

This production, which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 2014, brings along its original star (and Lyric Opera of Chicago “creative consultant”) Renée Fleming (through December 3 only – soprano Nicole Cabell takes over the lead Dec 9-13), the design team (including the decadent gowns by celebrated Broadway stalwart William Ivey Long) and Tony award-winning director/choreographer Susan Stroman.

While the plot is slight, the music is sumptuous. Fleming floats across the stage as the desired millionaire widow, Hanna Glawari. Men throw themselves at her feet for obvious reasons. But she’s not having it – Hanna’s eyes are set on Count Danilo Danilovitsch (the matinee-idol charming Thomas Hampson), her former lover. However, while Danilo shows interest in Hanna’s advances, he harbors hesitations in re-kindling the romance of someone with such deep pockets. Read the full review on The Huffington Post >

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