Danilo Danilovitsch: Rinalds Kandalincevs
Njegus: Gundars Āboliņš
Hanna’s inheritance of 200 million after the death of her husband, a Pontevedrian banker, makes her a desirable catch among the cavaliers in Paris. If only the Pontevedro ambassador, Baron Zeta, could find a wealthy, compatriot groom for the rich woman (and keep Hanna's wealth in the country), he could save the country from insolvency. The hopes are pinned on the charming heartbreaker Count Danilo. Although he and Hanna share a romantic past, the Count is afraid of being seen as a bounty hunter and is not ready to confess his feelings. Franz Lehár’s glorious melodies whirl with intrigue and passion, but after a series of comic misunderstandings, the ending is happy.
One of the world’s most popular operettas Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) had its world premiere in Vienna in 1905. It premiered at the Latvian National Opera in 1933. The new production of the operetta is staged in our opera house under the direction of the musical director and conductor Thomas Rösner and the stage director Uwe Eric Laufenberg.
The operetta is sung in German but spoken in several languages. Surtitles are provided in Latvian and English.
The young, very wealthy widow Hanna Glawari is invited to the Prince’s birthday, celebrated in the salon of the Pontevedrian Embassy in Paris. The Pontevedrian ambassador, Baron Zeta, is concerned: if the widow chooses a Parisian as her future husband, the potentially insolvent Pontevedro will no longer benefit financially from her wealth, so Baron Zeta plans to marry Hanna to the embassy secretary, Count Danilo Danilovich. The Count, meanwhile, enjoys the company of grisettes at Maxim’s. Hanna arrives and immediately has the attention of all the gentlemen present. She realizes that many of them are only interested in money, not in her.
Tired from the night’s entertainment, Count Danilo arrives at the party. He has known Hanna for a long time and was even going to marry her once, but his uncle objected to the wedding because of the woman’s poor background. Danilo still loves Hanna, but does not show it, because he does not want to be suspected of coveting the widow just for her wealth.
Baron Zeta’s new wife, Valencienne, has lost the fan on which her admirer, Camille de Rosillon, has confessed his love in writing. Worse still, the Baron finds the fan. Fortunately, he does not yet know that it belongs to Valencienne.
At the ladies’ dance, Hanna chooses Danilo as her partner, but he refuses and tries to sell the opportunity to other gentlemen for ten thousand francs. No one accepts the offer. Having thus freed the lady from the intrusive admirers, Danilo dances with Hanna, to whom the Count is still very close in his heart.
A day later, Hanna Glawari throws a party with Pontevedrian song and dance. Hanna sings about Vilja, a maiden of the forest who has left a hussar. Hanna’s love for Count Danilo has been rekindled. However, he is both dismissive and preoccupied – the Count is chasing away Hanna’s admirers and trying to find out who owns the fan with the declaration of love. By chance, the fan falls into Valencienne’s hands again. In the pavilion, she asks Camille to propose to Hanna Glawari. Baron Zeta has secretly observed the two and orders the pavilion to be opened, but Rosillon comes out with Hanna, who has quickly taken Valencienne’s place to save the latter’s honor. Count Danilo can no longer repress his jealousy. When Hanna announces her engagement to Camille de Rosillon, she sees clearly that Danilo still loves her. The Count makes it clear that he is returning to Maxim’s.
Hanna, with the help of Njegus, has transformed the hall similar to Maxim’s. Danilo realizes that Hanna has only done this for him. Baron Zeta is still concerned about the fate of Hanna’s millions: if Hanna marries Rosillon, the bankruptcy of Pontevedro will be inevitable. Danilo appeals to Hanna’s patriotism. She has no intention of marrying a Frenchman, so she explains to Danilo what happened in the pavilion. Having overheard the story, Valencienne’s husband wants a divorce and proposes marriage to Hanna Glawari. She rejects it, explaining that if she remarried, she would lose her entire inheritance. Danilo is finally able to confess his love because Hanna can no longer accuse him of wanting to marry only for money.
To everyone’s surprise, Hanna reveals that if she remarries, the wealth would no longer belong to her, as it would pass to her new husband. The ambassador also reconciles with Valencienne, because she has written on her fan I am a respectable wife in response to Rosillon’s confession of love.