Virtual Museum

The Merry Widow

About the Ballet 

Hungarian composer Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow first delighted audiences as an operetta, which premiered in Vienna in 1905. The first ballet version was choreographed by Ruth Page in 1953 for London Festival Ballet which fused the plot's political intrigue with the characters' licentious and comical adventures. In 1975 Ronald Hynd premiered his production of The Merry Widow for the Australian Ballet which immediately established itself as a classic of the 20th century. Hynd's production has not lost the essence of Lehár’s operetta but has enhanced the themes of romance, courtship and adultery with a provocative and witty treatment. Since its premiere, many companies have added Hynd’s production to their repertoire, including the Vienna State Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Houston Ballet and it continues to be a popular audience favourite.

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Ballet Notes

Get more insight into the production - Ballet Notes are detailed guides to the company's dynamic repertoire. Read the synopsis and articles and view more photos in The Merry Widow Ballet Notes. 

Read the 2007 Ballet Notes

Production Chronology 

The Merry Widow 
Premiere Date: November 8, 1986
Choreography: Ronald Hynd, scenario by Sir Robert Helpmann
Music: Franz Lehár, original book by Victor Léon and Leo Stein, musical adaptation by John Lanchbery
Costume and Set Design: Desmond Heeley
Lighting Design: Michael J. Whitfield

The Merry Widow entered the repertoire through the generosity of THE VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE, THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA, joined by the Rotary Club of Toronto. 

Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.