By Jeanne Strauber
Inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Music Center, there’s a fairy-tale romance that ends happily between two lovers, the widow Anna Glawari and the handsome bachelor Count Danilo. Los Angeles Opera’s production of Franz Lehar’s delightful and entertaining operetta “The Merry Widow”, with a final waltz to the melodic Merry Widow Waltz.
The eye-popping colors on the costumes designed by Thierry Bosquet and the sets by Michael Yeargan were approved by the audience with loud applause as the curtain rose at the beginning of each of the three acts. Mezz-soprano Suzanne Graham in the lead role and Ron Gilfry star as the widow and the man who loves her but doesn’t want to marry her because of her fortune. Comic actor Jason Graae, in the speaking role of Njegus, adds hilarity to the evening’s entertainment.
Tenor Eric Cutler in the role of Camille de Rosillon and Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz as Valencienne add much to the production’s entertaining quality. Ms. Graham’s qualities as a soprano and acting ability were particularly evident in her performing “Vilia”. And, the all male septet, “You’re Back Where You First Began” was a show-stopper in the second act. Mr. Gilfry’s vocal abilities were more than evident in the final duet, “Love Unspoken”. The Merry Widow will be performed May 23 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and May 20 at 8:00 p.m. A matinee performance has been scheduled for May 19 at 1:00 p.m.
Kimberlea Daggy will speak on the production at the pre-performance lectures, which begin one hour prior to each performance. Tickets to The Merry Widow range from $35 to $220. Single tickets are also on sale at the Los Angeles Opera Box Office, online at www.LAOpera.com, or by phone at (213) 972-8001. May I suggest that you begin your evening with dinner at Taix’s restaurant located at 1911 Sunset Boulevard and just a few minutes away from the Music Center.
Now celebrating its 80th anniversary the menu still features the French Country Cuisine for which it has received many honors. I enjoyed Pates Aux Fruit de Mer-sauteed scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams and fish with bell peppers, onion and garlic on a bed of linguini with tomatoes. My companion, Irv Leemon, chose the Cote de Porc that he stated was absolutely delicious. We both agreed that the prices were moderate and the service was impeccable. For reservation call (213) 484-1265.