CCM’s Fall 2015 Mainstage Series comes to a witty and whimsical conclusion with Franz Lehár’s comic operetta The Merry Widow, playing Nov. 19 – 22 in Patricia Corbett Theater.

Conducted by Aik Khai Pung with stage direction by Emma Griffin, this production of The Merry Widow will be sung in English with a translation by renowned American lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

'The Merry Widow' photography by Mark Lyons.

From left to right: Andrew G. Manea as Danilo and Nicolette Book as Hanna in CCM’s production of ‘The Merry Widow.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

A glorious early-20th century operetta and forerunner to the modern musical, The Merry Widow tells the fizzy tale of star-crossed lovers and political shenanigans in a glitzy and idealized version of Paris. Madame Hanna Glawari, the widow of the wealthiest man in Petrovenia, is in Paris for the first time following her elderly husband’s demise. Concerned by the widow’s many suitors, Petrovenian Ambassador Baron Zeta assumes the role of matchmaker to ensure that Hanna’s wealth remains within the country, rather than fall into foreign hands. To set his plan in motion, the baron sends his secretary to fetch Hanna’s old flame, Danilo, from another party. Unfortunately, the baron becomes so obsessed with his own schemes that he fails to notice the affair between his wife and rival party member Camille.

What begins as a pleasant, professional party at the Petrovenian Embassy rapidly devolves into a drunken debacle by the time Hanna and her entourage arrive at the famous nightclub, “Maxim’s,” in the early hours of the morning.

“In some ways, it’s a very simple idea,” explains Griffin, an assistant professor of opera at CCM. “The Merry Widow is about the sort of things that happen when you’re 25 years old and you go to three parties over the course of a single night. The opera is about these beautiful people, which doesn’t diminish the love stories at the heart of The Merry Widow. Instead, it instills the show with a feverish and heightened romantic atmosphere.”

Griffin read 18 different translations of The Merry Widow before settling on Harnick’s adaptation, which is written in a decidedly American vernacular.

“Our voice and opera majors don’t always get much experience performing in American English, so this is an opportunity for our students to exercise some different muscles,” she explains. Bursts of spoken dialogue also give The Merry Widow the charming feel of musical theatre.

The hybrid sensibilities of this operetta are even reflected in the production’s sizable cast, which features students from CCM’s departments of opera, musical theatre and drama. With choreography by Patti James, who promises a can’t-miss can-can number, CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Merry Widow is sure to be magical, colorful and – of course – delightfully merry.

Featuring a score that Stage and Cinema describes as “a rich musical mix of Viennese waltzes, Hungarian folk dances and French insouciance,” The Merry Widow is a sparkling romp in which farce, romance and jealousy abound. Join us for a fantastical Parisian bar crawl, as the fate of an entire nation hangs in the balance!

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov.19
  • 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23

Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow are $31-35 for adults, $20-24 for non-UC students and $18-22 UC students with a valid ID. $12-$15 student rush tickets will become available one hour prior to each performance; limit two student rush tickets per valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at

Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit


CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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