|The Merry Widow
San Francisco Opera
|On the night of December 25, 2002, many of the television stations affiliated with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) broadcast a San Francisco Opera performance of Lehar’s The Merry Widow.
Yvonne Kenny, in the title role, does not have a beautiful voice and appears older than is ideal for the role, but has an attractive stage presence that eventually won me over to her performance.
Bo Skovhus, as Danilo, has an attractive voice and is very good-looking. He was, in my opinion, the most satisfactory member of the cast.
I am very familiar with recordings of Die Lustige Witwe with sopranos such as Emmy Loose and Barbara Bonney in the role of Valencienne. It is a mystery to me why the San Francisco Opera chose to cast a mezzo, Angelika Kirchschlager, in the role, since the sparkling duets with tenor Camille de Rossillon seem to call for a soprano soubrette, not a mezzo. Nonetheless, Kirchschlager did a good job and created a sympathetic character, to the extent possible in such a story.
Gregory Turay, a tenor that I liked very much in a live performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Boston’s Symphony Hall, did not make quite a strong enough impression as Camille. He would have looked better without the pencil-line moustache.
The sets and costumes were especially good. The performance held my attention throughout (which is a lot more than I can say of many recent Met television broadcasts) and was quite enjoyable.
Yvonne Kenny: Anna Glawari (The Merry Widow)
Bo Skovhus: Count Danilo Danilovitch
Angelika Kirchschlager: Valencienne
Gregory Turay: Camille de Rosillon
Carlo Hartmann: Baron Mirko Zeta
Elijah Chester: Njegus
Jonathan Boyd: Raoul de St. Brioche
Curtis Sullivan: Vicomte Cascada
Bob Amaral: Kromow
Marnie Breckenridge: Olga
William Saetre: Pritschitch
Jayne Taini: Praskowia
Peter Strummer: Bogdanovitch
Colleen McGrath: Sylviane
Virginia Pluth: A lady guest
Matt Logan: Maître d'hôtel
Janice Lynde: Zozo
Cynthia Drayer: Lolo
Ann Greene: Dodo
Debra Rose: Jou-Jou
Jodi Allen: Frou-Frou
Juliann Rhodes: Clo-Clo
Nora Heiber: Margot
Amanda Mckerrow, John Gardner: Solo dancers
San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Erich Kunzel: Guest Conductor
|The Merry Widow [DVD]  [NTSC], amazon.co.uk|
|Lehar -- Merry Widow / Kenny, Skovhus, Kirchschlager, Turay, Kunzel, San Francisco Opera, DVD, amazon.com|
Lehar;Franz Merry Widow [Import], DVD, amazon.ca