Opera Scotland

Lustige Witwe 1932Barry O'Brien and Carl Brisson

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Carl Brisson's career as one of the leading stars of musical comedy began in 1923 when he was given the role of Danilo in a Merry Widow production opposite a young Evelyn Laye. Here, a decade later, he is also the co-producer and co-choreographer of a further revival. Helen Gilliland had also starred in a number of shows since the War, while George Graves had played the Ambassador not only in 1923 but also in the first London production back in 1907.

At this remove, the English language performing text introduced in 1907 by Basil Hood and Adrian Ross seems peculiar, in that the changes seem to have so little purpose. Even the native land of most of the characters, Pontevedro, is renamed Marsovia. Baron Mirko Zeta and his wife Valencienne become Baron Popoff and Natalie. Hanna Glawari, the widow  herself, becomes Sonia. Danilo's name may not change, but he is upgraded to Princely status. Camille's origin is changed from Rosillon to Jolidon.

With the minor characters, the men at least, the changes are equally radical. Bogdanowitsh is renamed Khadja. Kromow and Pritschitsch are merged - under the name Novikovich. He retains Kromow's wife, Olga, but takes over the Pritschitsch job, in the military, upgraded from Colonel to General. Praskowia is apparently left husbandless. Njegus's new name is simply Nisch. This staging also gains a waiter chez Maxim, presumably comic, played by Cecil Warwick. It all seems essentially a distraction, but for British audiences, at least, this remained the familiar version until the hugely successful Sadler's Wells production opened in 1958, with a new text by Christopher Hassall.

Cast details are from a programme in the Edinburgh Room at Edinburgh City Library.

Additional tour venues and dates to be confirmed.

Performance Cast

Baron Mirko Zeta Pontevedrian Ambassador in Paris

George Graves

Valencienne Zeta's wife

Anne Crecy

Count Danilo Danilowitsch Secretary to the legation, reserve cavalry lieutenant

Carl Brisson

Hanna Glawari a wealthy young widow

Helen Gilliland

Camille de Rosillon

Wilfred Gartrell

Vicomte Cascada

George Child

Raoul de St Brioche

John Fitzroy

Bogdanowitsch Pontevedrian Consul

Ronald Hall

Sylviane wife of Bogdanowitsch

June Randall

Kromow Counsellor to the Pontevedrian legation

Francis Hope

Olga wife of Kromow

Irene Cowden

Praskowia wife of Pritschitsch

Moya Stevens

Njegus Chancery Clerk at the Embassy

Edward Steadman

Frou-Frou a grisette

Tilly Brisson

Performance DatesLustige Witwe 1932

Map List

Empire Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

18 Apr, 19.45 19 Apr, 19.45 20 Apr, 14.30 20 Apr, 19.45 21 Apr, 19.45 22 Apr, 19.45 23 Apr, 14.30 23 Apr, 19.45

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