The Merry Widow

Franz Lehár

The Merry Widow

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre


The Merry Widow is a delicious confection: a light-hearted look at love amid the champagne and glitter of Art Deco France. Ladies sweep into ballrooms in silk fishtail gowns, and dapper gents in suits and patent leather shoes kiss your hand and fill up your dance card.

Melbourne-born international star Danielle de Niese plays the beguiling widow, inadvertent heiress of a city's fortune after just eight days of marriage. Fearing the loss of their riches, the society set are determined that she must wed a local, and soon, before any foreigner catches her gaze. But she's got a history with the man they've got in mind, and to complicate matters, the widow isn't the only one turning heads. There's plenty of love to go around in this story of amorous encounters and elegant romance.

Graeme Murphy brings his spirited choreography and direction to Lehár's charming operetta in a brand new production.


Let's waltz, let's sway the night away.

It's time for a little romance.

There's a fortune at stake — which match will she make?

She'll lead you in a merry old dance.

Enjoy dinner before the opera at Arts Centre Melbourne

A couple dines at Arts Centre Melbourne before the operaAllow us to make your dinner reservation for you: 6pm at Café Vic. You'll be served a themed three-course menu for just $75, including matched wine. View the menu.

Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting tickets.

Conductor Vanessa Scammell
Director & Choreographer Graeme Murphy
Creative Associate Janet Vernon
Set Designer Michael Scott-Mitchell
Costume Designer Jennifer Irwin
Lighting Designer Damien Cooper
Sound Designer Tony David Cray
Assistant Director & Choreographer Shane Placentino
Assistant Director Matthew Barclay
English Translation Justin Fleming
Hanna Glavari Danielle de Niese (evenings) 
  Julie Lea Goodwin (Saturday matinées)
Danilo Danilovich Alexander Lewis
Baron Mirko Zeta David Whitney
Valencienne Stacey Alleaume
Camille de Rosillon John Longmuir
Njegus Benjamin Rasheed
Alexis Kromov Richard Anderson
Dominik Bogdanovich Christopher Hillier
Sylviane Jane Ede (except 5 Jan)
  Celeste Lazarenko (5 Jan)
Raoul de St. Brioche Brad Cooper
Viscount Nicolas Cascada Luke Gabbedy
Olga Kromov  Agnes Sarkis
Konrad Pritschich Tom Hamilton
Praskovia Dominica Matthews

Opera Australia Chorus

Orchestra Victoria

This production of The Merry Widow was commissioned by the Opera Conference, Australia's national partnership of professional opera companies.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 50 minutes, including two intervals.

The StoryHide

The tiny state of Pontevedro is bankrupt. Their only hope of financial salvation lies in Hanna, a beautiful widow who inherited her husband's fortune after just eight days of marriage.

The Pontevedrians must convince her to marry a local, lest she take her fortune to foreign shores.

But she's got a history with the man they've got in mind, and there are many twists and turns on the road to falling in love again...

Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.

Act I

The Pontevedrian embassy, Paris.The Balkan state of Pontevedro is facing financial ruin. Its best hope is that Hanna Glavari, a young rich widow, should marry a Pontevedrian and keep her fortune in Pontevedro, rather than risk marrying a Parisian and losing the money to France. The Pontevedrian Embassy holds a state ball to which Hanna and her former lover, Danilo Danilovich are invited. Before her marriage into wealth, Hanna was a poor farm girl whom Danilo’s uncle forbade him to marry. Now the pressure is on to reunite them in marriage. But as Danilo loved the poor farm girl, can he love the wealthy widow?

Act II

Hanna’s home in Paris, the next day. Hanna holds a Pontevedrian party. Valencienne, the young wife of the Pontevedrian ambassador, Baron Zeta, continues a fragile romance with a young Frenchman, Camille, who has written a dangerous confession of love on her fan. The intrigue deepens when Hanna and Camille are discovered in the summer house and the hope of her reunion with Danilo appears doomed.


Maxim’s Nightclub, later the same evening. Hanna has reserved the popular nightspot, where she sparks Danilo’s anger by her coquettish antics with the grisettes. The various love intrigues are resolved by vital discoveries about Valencienne’s fan - and the will of Hanna’s late husband!


A feast to celebrate the Grand Duke's birthday.

Allow us to make your dinner reservation: 6pm at Café Vic. You'll be served a themed three-course set menu for just $75, including matched wine.

Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting your tickets.


Twice-cooked goat's cheese soufflé; apple, walnut, rose dressed salad
a glass of sparkling wine on arrival


Veal medallion; porcini mushroom and tarragon gratin dauphinoise; pea and broadbean flowers
+ a glass of shiraz


Gâteau St. Honoré, with coffee sauce, French vanilla ice cream, sugar shards
+ tea or coffee

Specific dietary requirements can be accommodated, please send us an email after booking.

Published menu is subject to change without notice.
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