Our production of The Merry Widow took place from the 14th to 17th April 2004.
This was an amateur production by arrangement with Glocken Verlag Limited. The music is composed by Franz Lehar and adapted and arranged by Ronald Hanmer with lyrics by Phil Park.
The action of the MERRY WIDOW takes place in Paris. In ACT I we find ourselves in the Reception Room of the Pontevedrian Embassy. The Ambassador, Baron ZETA, is hosting a party to honour the 93rd birthday of the Duke of Pontevedro to which he has invited the rich and beautiful Pontevedrian heiress ANNA GLAVARI. Anna's elderly husband has died leaving her 20 millions which is lodged in the Bank of Pontevedro. Anna arrives escorted by a crowd of hopeful suitors and the party adjourns for supper. Realising that if Anna marries a foreigner her wealth will leave the country bankrupt, ZETA discusses a solution with his factotum NJEGUS and decides that his fun-loving attaché COUNT DANILO DANILOVITSCH must marry the Widow. Immersed in matchmaking, Baron Zeta has failed to observe that his wife VALENCIENNE is engaged in a passionate flirtation with a French officer CAMILLE, the Count de Rosillon. Zeta dispatches Njegus to find Danilo who eventually arrives. He has been traced to his favourite night-club "Chez MAXIMS". Exhausted by the round of party going he falls asleep in the deserted ballroom. Valencienne and Camille return perturbed. Valencienne has forbidden Camille to declare his love, so he has written the words, "I LOVE YOU" on her fan and now the fan cannot be found anywhere. Anna reappears and awakens Danilo. It appears that they are old acquaintances, parted long since by Danilo's rich uncle. Anna reminds Danilo of their past affair but he declares that he will never marry her now because of her fortune. KROMOV another attaché finds the fan and is convinced that it belongs to his flirtatious wife OLGA, but after some diplomatic words from Zeta hands it to him. Anna chooses Danilo for her partner in "Ladies,' Choice" and as she does so realises that her attraction for him is still alive in her heart.
We are in the garden of Anna's house. All the Pontevedrians are in national dress and Anna obliges with a national folksong, "VILIA". Zeta confides the story of the fan to Danilo who immediately recognises the writing as that of Camille. Zeta gives Danilo the task of tracing the owner. Anna is still annoyed at Danilo for continuing to avoid her. She is now completely in love with him as he is with her. It is only her millions and his pride that keep them apart. Danilo continues his unsuccessful search for the owner of the fan, which soon comes into Anna's possession, and she is convinced that the inscription on it is Danilo's declaration to her.
Meanwhile Camille sings passionately to Valencienne and she, smitten by his song, retires with him to the summerhouse. Disaster! Baron Zeta has called a meeting of his staff at the very same summerhouse. He finds the door locked and through the keyhole he believes he sees his wife and Camille. Furiously he tries to break down the door, but Valencienne escapes by the back door and Anna takes her place. When the door is opened Zeta is staggered to see Anna and Camille appear. In order to save Valencienne's blushes Anna announces that she has become engaged to Camille. Zeta is stunned whilst Anna interprets Danilo's furious reaction to the announcement as a sign of true love.
Later that evening we are still in the garden of Anna's house but now it is decorated as "Chez Maxim's" in honour of Danilo and a troupe of Grisettes has been engaged to entertain the guests. Danilo is delighted to learn from Anna the truth of the summer house episode but he still cannot declare himself. Only when she tells him that by the terms of her late husband's will does she lose her millions upon remarriage, does he propose. She accepts, gladly and then tells him that the millions go to whoever becomes her new husband. Valencienne admits she is the owner of the fan but saves the day by declaring that the inscription is dedicated to her dear husband. Camille is the only one not celebrating..................
|Baron Zeta||Geoff Allan|
|St. Brioche||Tony White|
|Grisettes||Ellen John, Scilla Copper, Lizzie Jeanes, Sabrina Durrant, Kym White, Naomi Booth|
|Ladies & Gentlemen of the Chorus||Jane Trim, Sam Brook, Ruth Shipley, Charlotte Allan, Mike Mortimer, Trevor John, Matthew Baker, Adrian Livsey, Keith Geary|