Merry Widow Opera cancan

Broadway in Sydney: Opera Australia’s ‘The Merry Widow’, showing now

It was late last year that Melbourne soprano superstar Danielle de Niese made her triumphant return to the Melbourne Arts Centre stage in the debut of the new Graeme Murphy production of The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe) by Opera Australia.

OA The Merry Widow

By Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehar in the early 1900s, the piece has been reimagined in a Broadway-come-Gatsby style, complete with geometric art deco everything and flapper dresses and de Niese, who plays protagonist Hanna Glavari, fits the bill ideally.

MORE: Read all about a day in the life of soprano in The Merry Widow, Stacey Alleaume

Now performing at the Sydney Opera House in the newly refurbished Joan Sutherland Theatre to herald the beginning on the Sydney summer opera season by Opera Australia, The Merry Widow played by de Niese alongside a striking cast is one to see.

Merry Widow Opera podium

The glitz and stunning costumery, as usual, lead by Opera Australia costume designer Jennifer Irwin is almost enough to steal the show when coupled with the incredibly transportive backdrop, mastered by set designer Michael Scott-Mitchell.

Merry Widow Opera ballroom

But it’s the coming-together of de Niese’s effortless high scale flutterings combined with the terrific tenor work of Alexander Lewis as Danilo Danilovich and John Longmuir as Camille de Rosillon that transfix the audience.

Merry Widow Opera finale

From the soft and transcendental scenes of emotion and debate, to the “frothy” elements of comedy that bring to life familiar waltzes and tuneful melodies like the heart-tickling Vilja songYou’ll find me at Maxim’s, and the Merry Widow Waltz, the performance is a contrast of jazzy fun and laughs to moments of true inner reflection and conundrum.

Have a listen to the well-known tune below…

Centred around the scheming tale of a widow whose inheritance means more to the leaders than her romantic fate, the tale features all the opulence and glamour we often associate with early era Paris, flirtatiousness and fabulousness – with a welcome injection of same-sex shenanigans – and blends it all up in a colourful centrifugal output of light, action, music and enjoyment.

Watch the trailer below and treat yourself to some tickets from Opera Australia today.

The Merry Widow runs until 3 February 2018.

OA The Merry Widow

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