Land of Smiles, The (Das Land Des Lächelns)

Composer: Lehar, Franz 1870 - 1948

Version: English version - Christopher Hassall

One of Lehar’s later operettas, The Land of Smiles (1929) was written largely around the performance of the renowned tenor Richard Tauber, for whom the composer would often write a signature aria. In The Land of Smiles, this aria is the unforgettable You Are My Heart’s Delight, and audiences attending the original London production would have heard the aria sung by Tauber himself. Set in Vienna and China, in 1912, the opera is also famous for its bittersweet ending. SYNOPSIS: In Vienna, Lisa, a Countess, marries a Chinese prince and returns with him to his homeland despite the warnings of her friends and family. In Beijing, however, she finds that she is unable to come to terms with his culture, and especially that he must take other wives. He assures her that it’s just a formality, but unhappiness is inevitable, and she is locked in the palace. Her love changes to hate. In Act III, Prince Sou-Chong is left alone, while his beloved Lisa returns to her homeland. His sister, Princess Mi had also become attached to the Viennese official Gustav, and so the ending is doubly sad. But the prince respects the rule of his custom: always smile.


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