Mr. M. Murayama, I
wish you a very happy new year ! And
with much thanks let me introduce you an operetta named "Merry
Widow" composed by Franz Lehar in 1905. This DVD source
has been published recently by Dreamlife company but the date
of publication being uncertained. This edition has been copied
from the original live data at the Grand Hall of Jeneva by the
following staffs. Libretto is an French version by Victor Leon
and Leo Stein, originally by Gaston de Caillavet and Robert de
Ilers from the story by Henri Meilhac in German language. "Die
lustige witwe" is the original name of this operetta. Orchestra
is the Suisse Romande conducted by Armin Jordan. Characters are
Baron Popoff by
Jean Bruno, Prince Danilo by Mikael Melbye, Camille
de Coutancon by Barry Macaulay,
Missia Palmieri by
Anne Howelles, Nadia by Marie McLaughlin, Destillack by Gilos Cachmaille,
Lerida by Ricardo Cassinelli, Figg by Christian Asse, Boedanowitch by Samuel Hasler,
Pristitch by Piere Andre Gamba, Le Gerant de Chez Maxim's by
Edward Nervar, Praskovia by Marie-Theres Orain, Olga by Germaire
Epierre, Sylviane by Anne Laure Luisoni. And Ballet du Grand
Theatre conducted by Oscar Araiz, Choeurs du Grand Theatre conducted
by Paul-Andre Gaillare, scene play by Jerome Savary, choregraphie
by Jean-Lois Bert and Alphonse Poulin, assistante pour le cancan
by Jacqueline Marcos, costumes by Monique Bertrand and lightening
by Alan Poisson etc.
This operetta in three acts by F. Lehar is one of the most famous operetta played worldwide since 1905 in Wien. The story is a love comedy of the two couples, Danilo and Missia also with Camille and Nadia. The all acts are full of dance music so luxurious and continuously repeated giving audience enough or over satisfaction. So colourfully decorated and with many skilled dancers, the stage is always full of happy enthusiastic emotion like as in the midst of festival of ballet. The music by F. Lehar is so wonderful throughout all the scenes for any audience as to activate their mind of dancing in the hall. The climax of the operetta has come in the scene of ballet of the two Danilo and Missia in Act three. Missia's song is very attractive dancing with Danilo "If You don't speak by word, I feel Your love in mind through the step of ballet." The finale had come in the simple happy ending, though the story of love comedy was a little complicated in the process of Act one and two. Anne Howelles and Mikael Merbye had played and danced so well as to be in the melancory of love in act two and also in the ecstasy of love near the finale. Special comment should be given to Christian Asse as Figg, a pierrot, for his wonderful play to harmonize the stage of operetta in speaking and funny dancing. Because the existence of pierrot is very important in any stage of opera or drama and it is more difficult to play pierrot than to play madonna or hero. Pierrot is something like a speaker of drama and in the shadow of the stage to make madonna or hero to be delightful against audience. He should be most skilled person among the members of playing staffs. As for cancan dancing in the Act three, the stage was so funny but too long and too many times repeated. But the entertainment was successful for audience feeling so much happy to enjoy the operetta.
Mr. M. Murayama, my honorable teacher of music in this century, I have believed the dance music is most important for operetta. But I still think operetta should not be too entertaining for public show bussiness and also should hold in some levels of artistic value. I have no interest for operetta of too lower level like as some works of Offenbach and others. And I often can not be tolerant to watch the tragic ending of serious opera usually with death of hero or heroine.
How do you like opera or operetta? Mr. Murayama, I wish the Venus of Muse shall always be with you in composition.
(15 Jan 2001)