Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Merry Widow

Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Merry Widow

Article excerpt

Vienna State Opera Ballet Volksoper, Vienna September 19,1994 Reviewed by Evelyn Teri

Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow is a widow who has danced her way delightedly around the world since her debut in 1975. Now the ballet director of the Vienna State Opera, Anne Woolliams, has brought her to the Austrian capital, the city where the original Lehir operetta had its premiere at the beginning of the century.

Certainly this is a provocative and difficult undertaking, especially in a city where the Lehir is so popular that its lyrics and melodies are practically sung in the streets. But even if the Viennese must suddenly make do with a strictly visual rendition, this ballet production, with its perfect adaptation providing all the aura of the operetta, plus fine dancing, simply belongs in this city. The performance could not be held in the State Opera House itself, which is closed for renovation until the end of the year. Instead it was staged in the Vienna Volksoper, where the operetta is also in the current repertoire.

Hynd's ballet closely follows the familiar story of the romance between the young widow Hanna Glawari and Count Danilo Danilowitsch, while Lehfir's music has been arranged and augmented by John Lanchbery to fit the needs of the ballet. Conductor James Tuggle interpreted the score to the advantage of the dancers, but the quality of the musicians' playing failed to support him. Likewise, while the production was freshened up with new sets for the Vienna performances, the costumes did not always flatter the performers. …

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