Cher Public

Broadcast: The Merry Widow

Susan Graham (not pictured) stars in this afternoon’s Met broadcast starting at 1:00 PM. Bonus points to the first commenter who can explain why the foundation garment worn in the above photo has the same name as today’s opera.

  • Paul Pelkonen

    In 1952, Warners released a corselette as a “Merry Widow” named after the operetta. Lana Turner once remarked that the Merry Widow must have been designed as a man, no woman would do that to another woman.

    • Bill

      Perhaps as it is black and widows wear black while in
      mourning

      • La Cieca

        No, merry widows are made in white as well.

    • La Cieca

      That is more or less on the right track, but it’s not the core answer.

      • manou

        Was it designed especially for the film?

        • La Cieca

          Please see above.

    • MissShelved

      Wasn’t Lana the star (I assume dubbed?) — and wore some version of it in the movie?

  • Ivy Lin

    I would not want to picture Opera in HD without merry widows. It’s held up so many beloved singers.

  • Brackweaver

    Both ladies sound cautious. The cold temps? The early start?

  • Brackweaver

    Was that cut down a verse?

  • A little more spark would be welcome in Ward Stare’s conducting.

    • trevor

      Yes, the pace for “Vilja” is quite slow.

  • Ivy Lin

    I still don’t see why the Met needed 9 performances of this.

  • At 57, Susan Graham still sounds wonderful.

    • Kenneth Conway

      Two strikes against this for me: 1) Sung in English 2) Susan Stroman … But then there’s that other Susan … the great Susan Graham. What to do? Perhaps just put on the Hilde Güden recording and call it a day.

      • Bill

        Well the Valencienne whose voice began to spread and wobble in the upper regions and the bleaty tenor who sang Camille were (on the radio) not terribly appealing particularly when singing a high note together (and one or the other was off pitch). I sometimes wonder who picks these singers for the Met in auditions. Susan Graham when she finally appeared was a welcome relief -- particularly with an attractive (still attractive) middle voice. She was not as mannered vocally as her predecessor though the role requires certain vocal attributes to prove she is both desirable (in the Central European operetta tradition) and of a certain upper class nobility.

        • Kenneth Conway

          3) a wobbly Valencienne & a “bleaty tenor”? OK, I’m definitely skipping.

    • CwbyLA

      Yes, she does. I am pretty amazed. I really like her singing in general. She lets her voice speak for itself without resorting to “special”effects. She usually has impeccable taste in her phrasing, too.

  • La Cieca
  • La Cieca

    About the garment called a “Merry Widow”

    The London premiere of Merry Widow in 1907 starred Lily Elsie, an actress with (for then) a strikingly slim figure. Her costumiere Lucile decided to emphasize her svelte silhouette by creating gowns using a “princesse” line which fitted snugly over the hips. This was called the “Merry Widow dress”

  • La Cieca

    About the garment called a “Merry Widow”

    The London premiere of Merry Widow in 1907 starred Lily Elsie, an actress with (for then) a strikingly slim figure. Her costumiere Lucile decided to emphasize her svelte silhouette by creating gowns using a “princesse” line which fitted snugly over the hips. This was called the “Merry Widow dress”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ebb1c5cb6670deef8c21af3f67e76cc4a046bb37918139bb9d673d923c233ba.jpg

    When this style became a fad, many ladies found that the usual corsets that stopped just below the waist resulted in unsightly bulges in the tight skirt. And so a new model of longer corset, extending to the hips, was devised to assure a smooth line. This was called the “Merry Widow corset.”

    Moving forward about 40 years, Christian Dior introduced what was called “the New Look,” dresses and suits that molded tightly to the bodice and hips, similar in many ways to the 1907 styles. In order to fit these dresses properly, the “Merry Widow corset” was reinvented and adapted in a number of shapes and lengths.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ba7cf8940980483556e29379ddc4f452894129a568efbbd9a722663173599a3.jpg

    And so the foundation garment we call a “Merry Widow” is in fact a descendant of the corsets worn on stage in the first major English-language production of the operetta.

  • southerndoc1
    • Willym

      And today’s Danilo was the Camille in that production.

      • Brackweaver

        Can’t go wrong with a Marley floor.