Composer: Lehar, Franz 1870 - 1948

Version: Operatic Society version - translation by A. P. Herbert, orchestration by Harry Dexter

Lehár’s 28th completed work for the stage, Paganini (1925), took fourteen months to compose, and typifies the last phase of the silver age of operetta. It is also one of the many biographical operettas that were popular in the first part of the twentieth century, in which historical figures became the central figures in theatrically bittersweet love affairs. The success of Paganini encouraged the composer to continue in this direction of historical drama, and he went on to write both Der Zarewitsch (1926) and Friederike (1928) as a result. Paganini was again tailored for the voice of Richard Tauber, the Austrian tenor who had become the composer’s standard interpreter. Unfortunately, Tauber was unavailable for the Vienna premiere of Paganini, on October 30, 1925, but he was able to participate in the Berlin premiere of January 30, 1926. SYNOPSIS: Italy, 1806. The story of the romance between legendary violinist Niccolò Paganini, and Napoleon’s sister, Princess Anna Elisa. Paganini temporarily takes quarters in a village, on the way to perform at the court in Lucca. He entrances the listeners with his practising, amongst whom is Princess Elisa. When they meet, the Princess falls in love with Paganini, but he is also being pusued by the singer Bella Giretti. Paganini does not discourage either woman, and the Princess - on discovering this - takes revenge by having Paganini arrested. However, she falls for his charms once again, allowing him to escape. Across the border, Elisa meets Paganini one last time, and he swears to live solely for his music.

Instrumentation / / Timp / Perc / Hp / Str

Lib O/S (Vocal material from Faber)


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