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A frothy blend of whimsical comedy, romance and the delights of the Parisian Belle Époque in all its effervescent splendor, The Merry Widow is popular ballet at its finest. Based on the 1905 operetta of the same name by Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow sets out to entertain and amuse at every step and never puts a foot wrong.
The story imagines a fictional Balkan principality, Pontevedro, which is on the brink of economic disaster. In an effort to prevent certain ruin, a charming but raffish Pontevedrian aristocrat, Count Danilo, is persuaded to woo and marry a rich and sophisticated widow, Hanna Glawari, before she can marry a foreigner. Amid the inevitable plot complications and madcap misunderstandings, we learn that Danilo and Hanna had been childhood sweethearts, before Danilo abandoned Hanna, who was then an innocent peasant girl.
Playful and insouciant, comically buoyant and a perennial crowd-pleaser, The Merry Widow was premiered by The Australian Ballet in 1975 and entered the repertoire of The National Ballet of Canada in 1986.
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