May 06

Das Land des Lächelns, by Franz Lehár ???

Translated the Land of Smiles, this operetta represents late 19th century Viennese “pop” art, similar to the Gilbert and Sullivan works in England. Like Gilbert and Sullivan, Lehár creates an operetta with a mix of song and spoken text, a profusion of catchy melodies, and a very lame story line. This operetta is the epitome of truly lame story lines, with a Viennese  lady of aristocratic descent falling in love with a Chinese prince, marrying, and then going back to China with him, only to discover that he intends to marry many women. The opera ends as a quasi-tragedy, though many tears are not generated. The singing is superb, so it’s hard to be too tough on the entire operetta. I wouldn’t keep it in my desert island collection, Lehár deserves a rightful audience, just as one needs to watch the Mikado at least once.

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