No tickets are required, and it is not necessary to RSVP to attend the show. Seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open 30 minutes before the listed show time.

Composer Franz Lehár

Librettist Viktor Léon and Leo Stein

Language Sung in English without supertitles

Dates April 16-18, 2020

About the production Some roles still open. Email contact@cometopera.org for details. The Parisian embassy of the small Balkan country of Pontevedro is hosting a ball, with the guest of honor being the rich widow Hanna Glawari. The Pontevedrian ambassador, Baron Zeta, comes up with a scheme to keep her money in the country: marrying her to Count Danilo Danilovitch. However, unbeknownst to Zeta the two have history and, while Hanna is really in Paris to win Danilo back, she wants him to say “I love you” first. Danilo is unwilling to do so because it will make him seem like he is only after her for her money, just like all of her Parisian suitors. Things are further complicated by Baron Zeta’s wife, Valencienne, having an emotional affair with a Frenchman, Camille de Rossillon. In order to protect Valencienne from being caught by the Baron, Hanna takes her place in a rendezvous and announces she will marry Camille, breaking Danilo’s heart and worrying the Baron. Hanna has to try and win back Danilo, while Valencienne faces the fact that she does not want Camille to marry anyone else while still avoiding being caught in this fun, funny operetta.

Cast

Conductor

Tom Smith

All Dates

Hanna Glawari

Alina Linde

All Dates

Danilo Danilovitsch

Matthew Kunjummen

All Dates

Valencienne Zeta

Linda Hiort

All Dates

Camille de Rossillon

Peter Wynne

All Dates

Baron Zeta

Daniel Underwood

All Dates

Vicomte Cascada

Ben Wise

All Dates

Sylviane Bogdanovitch

Keerthi Stanley

All Dates

Creative Team

Stage Director

Ally Harrison-Ellis

Music Director

Tom Smith

Chorus Master

Ben Wise

Choreography

Ben Wise
Solvay Linde

Translations

Tom Smith
Alina Linde

Orchestra

Principal Pianist

Max Fritz

Chorus Pianist

Mou Yang

Synopsis

Act 1 The embassy in Paris of the poverty-stricken Balkan principality of Pontevedro is holding a ball to celebrate the birthday of the sovereign, the Grand Duke. Hanna Glawari, who has inherited twenty million francs from her late husband, is to be a guest at the ball – and the Pontevedrian ambassador, Baron Zeta, is scheming to ensure that she will keep her fortune in the country, saving Pontevedro from bankruptcy. The Baron intends that Count Danilo Danilovitsch, the first secretary of the embassy, should marry the widow; unfortunately for this plan, Danilo is not yet at the party, so Zeta sends Danilo’s assistant Njegus to fetch him from the Parisian club, Maxim’s, which he is known to frequent.

Danilo finally arrives and runs into Hanna. It emerges they were in love before her marriage, but his uncle had interrupted their romance because Hanna had had nothing to her name. Though they still love each other, Danilo now refuses to court Hanna out of pride, and Hanna vows that she will not marry him until he says “I love you” – something he claims he will never do, since it will make him seem like he is just like all of her Parisian suitors, only after her fortune.

Meanwhile, Baron Zeta’s wife Valencienne has been flirting with the French attaché to the embassy, Count Camille de Rosillon, who writes “I love you” on her fan. Valencienne continuously puts off Camille’s advances, saying that she is a respectable wife. However, they lose the incriminating fan, which is found by embassy counsellor Kromov. Kromov jealously fears that the fan belongs to his own wife, Olga, and gives it to Baron Zeta. Not recognising it, Baron Zeta decides to return the fan discreetly, in spite of Valencienne’s desperate offers to take it “to Olga” herself.

On his way to find Olga to return the fan, the Baron meets Danilo, and his diplomatic mission takes precedence over the fan. The Baron orders Danilo to marry Hanna for the good of Pontevedria. Danilo refuses, but offers to eliminate any non-Pontevedrian suitors as a compromise.

As the “Ladies’ Choice” dance is about to begin, Hanna becomes swarmed with hopeful suitors. Valencienne volunteers Camille to dance with Hanna, privately hoping that the Frenchman will marry her and cease to be a temptation for Valencienne herself. True to his bargain with the Baron, Danilo circulates the ballroom, rounding up ladies to claim dances and thin the crowd around the wealthy widow. Hanna, however, chooses the one man who is not apparently interested in dancing with her: Danilo, who immediately announces that he will sell his dance with Hanna Glawari for ten thousand francs, with the proceeds to benefit charity. This extinguishes the remaining suitors’ interest in the dance. After they have left, Danilo attempts to dance with Hanna, who refuses due to the stunt he pulled. Nonchalantly he proceeds to waltz by himself, eventually wearing down Hanna’s resistance, and she falls into his arms.

Act 2 The next evening, everyone is dressed in Pontevedrian clothing for a garden party at Hanna’s house, now celebrating the Grand Duke’s birthday in his own country’s fashion. Hanna entertains the guests by singing an old Pontevedrian song. Meanwhile, Baron Zeta fears that Camille will spoil his plan for Hanna to marry a Pontevedrian. Njegus accidentally reveals that Camille is having an affair with a married woman. Still not recognising the fan as Valencienne’s, the Baron orders Danilo to discover the identity of its owner, whom he correctly assumes to be Camille’s married lover. The two men, along with Njegus, arrange to meet that evening in Hanna’s garden pavilion to discuss Danilo’s findings, as well as the problem of securing the widow’s fortune for Pontevedria. Danilo sets out to discover who the fan belongs to, but his inquiries regarding the fan prove fruitless, although they do reveal infidelities committed by some of the wives of embassy personnel. Seeing the fan, Hanna takes the message on it to be Danilo’s declaration of love for her, which he denies.

Later that evening, Camille and Valencienne meet in the garden, where Valencienne insists that they must part. Discovering the fan, accidentally left behind by Danilo, Camille begs Valencienne to let him have it as a keepsake. Valencienne agrees, writing “I am a respectable wife” on it as a rejoinder to Camille’s “I love you.” Camille persuades Valencienne to join him in the pavilion so that they can say their goodbyes in private. This is of course the same pavilion where Danilo, the Baron, and Njegus have agreed to meet, and Njegus, arriving first, locks the door when he spots the two inside. Baron Zeta and Danilo arrive, and the Baron sees his wife with Camille, but Njegus quickly arranges with Hanna to change places with Valencienne. Camille emerges from the pavilion with Hanna, who announces that they plan to marry, leaving the Baron assured of his wife’s fidelity but distraught at the thought of Pontevedro losing Hanna’s millions and Valencienne distraught at losing Camille. Danilo is furious and tells the story of a Princess who cheated on her Prince before he storms off to seek distraction at Maxim’s. Hanna realizes that Danilo’s anger over her engagement to another man proves that he loves her, and she rejoices amid the general despair.

Act 3 At Maxim’s, while the Pontevedrians are entertained by Maxim’s grisettes (can-can dancers), Valencienne has dressed herself as a grisette and joins the dancing and singing. When Danilo arrives, he tells Hanna to give up Camille for the sake of Pontevedria. Much to Danilo’s delight, Hanna replies truthfully that she was never engaged to Camille but was protecting the reputation of a married woman. Danilo comes very close to declaring his love for Hanna, but stops himself from doing so when he remembers her money and his proud refusal to court her for it. Njegus produces the fan, which he picked up earlier, and Valencienne accidentally admits it is hers in front of Baron Zeta. He swears to divorce his wife and marry the widow himself, but Hanna stops him by declaring that she will lose her fortune if she remarries. At this, Danilo promptly confesses his love for her and asks Hanna to marry him. Hanna triumphantly accepts, adding that she will lose her fortune only because it will become the property of her new husband. Valencienne assures Baron Zeta of her fidelity by pointing out her reply to Camille’s declaration of love written on the fan: “I am a respectable wife”. He takes her back and all rejoice at the love between the two couples.