'The Merry Widow' takes the stage

1:55:41 PM CDT - Thursday, November 04, 2004

Turn-of-the-century Europe will make its way to Wichita State when the College of Fine Arts presents "The Merry Widow" as part of the Opera and Musical Theatre Series.

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 18-20, and 2 p.m. Sunday Nov. 21, in Miller Concert Hall.

"The Merry Widow" has been a popular hit since it first appeared in 1905. It has a combination of sophistication, romance and raciness that defines pre-World War I Paris. The music is full of dance rhythms, waltzes, polkas and mazurkas.

The love story is between two strong-willed individuals, neither of whom wants to be the first to say they are in love. When only a poor farm girl, Hanna fell in love with dashing Count Danilo. His aristocratic family broke off the match, and Hanna married a rich and elderly banker who obligingly died shortly after the wedding. Taking advantage of new-found wealth and widowhood, Hanna moves to Paris, where she encounters her former lover. That's when sparks fly, champagne flows, and the waltzing begins.

Originally performed in 1905, the operetta was an instant success with audiences and ran for more than 400 performances. Numerous productions are staged every year by opera houses and musical theater companies alike.

"Stylistically, 'The Merry Widow' is a link between opera and musical theater," said Marie King, who is directing the production. "The music is more in the 'classical' vein, but it has spoken dialogue and numerous dance numbers."

General admission tickets for the show are available through the Fine Arts Box Office for $12 with discounts available.

Compiled by Chase Willhite

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