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THE MERRY WIDOW (article first published : 2005-08-28)

The legendary Carl Rosa Opera Company is to return to South Africa after an absence of 50 years to present The Merry Widow early in 2006. A full cast of over 30 will travel from the UK to be joined by the 16-piece Johannesburg Festival Orchestra.

Performances will take place in the Opera House at Artscape in Cape Town from January 24 to February 5 and in the Nelson Mandela Theatre at The Johannesburg Civic Theatre from February 8 to March 4. (No performances are scheduled for KwaZulu-Natal)

Franz Lehár's operetta The Merry Widow was a staple of the repertoire of the old Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT), selling out seasons in both the Pretoria State Theatre and Johannesburg's Civic Theatre in 1977, 1979, 1983, 1993 and 1995. It is now ten years since a completely staged production of this glorious celebration of music and life has been seen on stage in Gauteng.

This new production unites a highly prestigious creative team with a fresh new translation by Jeremy Sams, internationally renowned director Michael McCaffery and Emmy Award-winning designer Hugh Durrant. With Lehár’s passionate score, soaring voices, sensuous waltzes and glittering Parisian couture, The Carl Rosa Company presents an intoxicating evening of sensational musical theatre.

When The Merry Widow opened in Vienna on New Year’s Eve 1905, the world was given an operetta that launched a century of musical plays and, more than any other of its predecessors, gave rise to the modern musical. Performed countless times (it had already played more than 10,000 performances in its first five years of existence) in dozens of languages in theatres across the world, it belongs to that very small and select body of works of which it can be claimed that, at any given time, someone is performing it somewhere.

More information on 011 325 4877 or fax 011 325 2792.




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