Franz Lehár

The work of the Austro-Hungarian composer FRANZ LEHAR is among the top examples in the operetta genre.
The land of smiles was staged for the first time at the Metropol Theater in Berlin on October 10th, 1929. The authors of the libretto are Ludwig Herzer and Fritz Löhner- Beda. The work had a resounding success among audiences in many countries, and the famous aria of Prince Sou-Chong Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (I gave you my heart) is included in the repertoire for the greatest opera and operetta tenors in the world.

The arias from the musical comedy in five scenes Giuditta are among the most popular of Franz Lehar’s music. It is the last and most ambitious work of the composer, the action of the operetta is developed and approaches the genre of opera. The work received its first performance at the Vienna State Opera on January 20th, 1934, with Jarmila Novotná and Richard Tauber in the leading roles and the composer conducting it. Its premiere attracted more attention than any of his previous works. It was broadcast live on 120 radio stations across Europe and the United States and ran for 42 performances in its debut season. Despite this initial interest, Giuditta soon faded from the repertoire. There are different reasons for that. In 1938, after only a few more performances were staged, Tauber and Novotna had to leave Vienna. The librettist Fritz Löhner-Beda was taken away to a concentration camp and died in Auschwitz. In 1970 a German television version was made. Freunde das Leben ist Lebenswert (The lives of friends are worth living) (No 4) is a song by Octavio (an army officer for whom Giuditta abandons her husband).

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