The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár has been a favourite since it was first performed in 1905. The widow of the title is Hanna Glawari, the beautiful self-made bride of a wealthy man who has helpfully died early, making her the richest person in the little state of Pontevedro.
At the country's embassy in Paris, the ambassador desperately needs her to marry the embassy secretary Count Danilo, and so keep her money in their hard-up country. Hanna and Danilo have been lovers in the past; it should be easy. But Danilo does not want to appear to be marrying for money, and anyway, Hanna is having a (fake) affair with someone else.
Complications aplenty pile up in the best traditions of farce, until the unsurprisingly happy ending. But there is much fun to be had on the way, and hugely entertaining set-pieces in glamorous, all-singing, all-dancing Paris society.
Swedish soprano Julia Sporsén heads the cast as Hannah Glawari, with baritone Alex Otterburn, very droll as Pluto in English National Opera's Orpheus and Eurydice, sings Danilo. Alison Langer, who made a big impression on OHP audiences in 2019 with a trouser role in the five-star Un Ballo in Maschera, sings Valencienne, and the comic actor and bass-baritone John Savournin is Baron Zeta.
John Andrews conducts the City of London Sinfonia and all-important Opera Holland Park Chorus. Direction is by Christopher Luscombe with design by Simon Higlett, lighting by Mark Jonathan and choreography by Ewan Jones.
With translation and adaptation by Kit Hesketh Harvey and Giles Havergal, an evening of welcome frivolity is guaranteed.
The Merry Widow is sung in English with English surtitles. Performances are on 18, 22, 24, 28, 30 July; 1 Aug. General booking opens 10AM Wed 26 Feb
|What||The Merry Widow, Opera Holland Park|
|Where||Opera Holland Park, Stable Yard, Holland Park, London , W8 6LU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||High Street Kensington (underground)|
18 Jul 20 – 01 Aug 20, six performances
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|