Die Lustige Witwe(or The Merry Widow) is one of the all-time great operettas, witty, charming and full of amazing music. This Semperoper Dresden production is not bad at all, though it does pale to the 1934 film, the Zurich production, the earlier Bo Skovhus production and even the Sutherland performance. It is certainly better than the Lesley Garrett one anyhow. The costumes and sets though are sumptuous, the orchestral playing is lush, the conducting nuanced and energetic and the chorus exuberant. There are great performances, chiefly from the splendid Danilo of Skovhus, though he is even better in his earlier production. The Valencienne is also very charming. Petra Maria Schnitzer sounds radiant as Hanna, especially in the most well-known part of the operetta(aside from the overture and the Gold and Silver Waltz that is) Vilja, and looks commanding. I do think though that the chemistry between her and Skovhus could have been more convincing, somehow it wasn't playful or hostile enough. The staging is mostly in good tune with the tone of the story and music. Though there are some bits that seem as though they were played for novelty value, like Njegus' transformation into a clown and the introduction of a sofa in the shape of a hand. Seeing the ambassador's wife in trousers with all the other ladies in dresses was also odd. Overall, the singing and musical values are very good, but some of the staging and the chemistry between Hanna and Danilo could have been more. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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