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New York City Opera: The Merry Widow 

A stage production of the classic musical videotaped in front of a live audience in the New York State Theatre at Lincoln Center, New York City.


Kirk Browning


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
George S. Irving ... Baron Mirko Zeta
Patricia Johnson Patricia Johnson ... Valencienne
Joseph McKee Joseph McKee ... Kromov
Beth McVey Beth McVey ... Olga
John Lankston John Lankston ... Bogdanovitch
Suzanne Ishee Suzanne Ishee ... Sylvanie
Robert Creighton ... Njegus
Carlo Scibelli Carlo Scibelli ... Camille de Rosillion
Matthew Chellis Matthew Chellis ... Vicomte Cascada
Shon Sims Shon Sims ... Raoul de St. Brioche
Jane Thorngren Jane Thorngren ... Hanna, The Widow Glawali
Michael Hayes Michael Hayes ... Count Danilo Danilovitch
Jean Barber Jean Barber ... Grisette: Lolo
Stephanie Godino Stephanie Godino ... Grisette: Dodo
Julie Stahl Julie Stahl ... Grisette: Jou-Jou / Young Hanna


A stage production of the classic musical videotaped in front of a live audience in the New York State Theatre at Lincoln Center, New York City.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Music | Musical







Release Date:

27 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Franz Lehar, THE MERRY WIDOW See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Danilo: You said yes.
Hanna: And your uncle said no!
Danilo: You got angry.
Hanna: And you left me and went back to Marshovia.
Danilo: I went back to Marshovia to tell him how wrong he was about you. How proud I would be to have you for my wife, how proud Marshovia would be as well.
Hanna: You said that?
Hanna: He relented. I raced back to Paris... but you had already given yourself to another.
Hanna: I... never knew.
Danilo: And now you will give yourself to someone else again!
See more »


Version of The Merry Widow (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining but could have been much more
20 November 2014 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The Merry Widow is a beautiful operetta, one of the best there is in fact, and New York City Opera have been responsible for a fair amount of treasures(ie. their 1983 production of The Cunning Little Vixen). This 1996 production is better than what has been said about it on Youtube but could have been much better, there are a lot of things to like but what it has been criticised for is valid and the flaws do hurt the production a fair bit. The production is handsome enough, with the exception of some overly solemn lighting, the costumes are just gorgeous being traditional and colourful and the sets suit the story and stage well, the garden set standing out. It fares well technically with good camera work(if a little lacking in variety) and picture quality and clear sound quality that allows you to enjoy the music. This said, "purists" may not like how the music is treated, it's still absolutely beautiful and there are few qualms with how it's performed but they won't find the re-editing of the Overture, the ridiculous over-milking(in sentiment that is) in the title waltz section and cuts and re-ordering very tasteful. For me, the changing around wasn't so much a problem but the treatment of the Overture was. The dialogue likewise, some of it is very funny and witty but other parts do come across as too silly and crude, especially with the Baron, some of it belonging more at home in a sit-com.

The staging was reasonably good, some of the comedy again with the Baron was overplayed but there was a good deal of warmth and charm- Vilja's just lovely- and the choreography had bags of energy, just loved the Act 3 can-can.The orchestral playing is lush and stylish, the chorus sound great in tone and balance and move easily and animatedly on stage. The conducting is rarely less than exuberant. The performances are fine on the whole with two exceptions. George S. Irving is very stereotypically oafish as the Baron with his comic timing verging on cartoon-ish, his voice is decent but character comes at the expense of tonal beauty. Carlo Scibelli has a very pretty tenor voice and is handsome, but is a very stiff actor and his diction is not always clear. Jane Thorngren is a sheer delight as Hanna though, her rich, clear-as-a-bell voice is particularly good in the Vilja and she is a touching actress too. Michael Hayes is dashing, headstrong and arrogant but there is a sense that Danillo is conflicted in being worried about commitment and his cockiness is masking it, he possesses a warm voice too. Patricia Johnson is immensely charming and sings and phrases her music very nicely if occasionally stridently. All in all, entertaining production but lacking in some areas. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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