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Michael Yeargan's sets properly recalled the glories of the 1890s, while Thierry Bosquet's lavish costumes and wide brimmed hats were a large part of the visual glory of the production. Conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing proved to have a good understanding of the genre and, despite the English lyrics, the music was played in an authentic Viennese manner. This was genuine operetta, not an attempt at a Broadway show, even though there were Broadway theater actors in the cast.

Jason Graae as Njegus in 'The Merry Widow'. Photo © 2007 Robert Millard
Jason Graae as Njegus in 'The Merry Widow'. Photo © 2007 Robert Millard

As Baron Zeta, Jake Gardner convinced the audience of his gullibility in Act I, his jealousy in Act II and his appreciation of his wife, Valencienne, at the finale. Tall tenor Eric Cutler was a robust sounding Camille and a logical focus for the Baron's flirtacious wife. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, the Valencienne, was the weak link in the cast. She looked beautiful and acted reasonably well, but her slender sound often failed to come across the footlights in the large house.

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Copyright © 17 June 2007 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA


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