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What happens in The Merry Widow?

In this new version we are no longer in an embassy in Paris, but peeking into the secrets of a faulty theatre here in Bergen.

The sparkling music by Lehár sounds as legendary as always, but Adam Price and Kasper Holten at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen have made their own and modern twist on the story – followed up by Eirik del Barco Soleglad, who has transformed it to a Norwegian setting:

ACT 1
We are in Zeta's financially hard-hit theatre in Bergen, shortly before the premiere of The Merry Widow. The after-show party will be attended by all the city's cultural bigwigs, and the guest of honour is Hanna Glawari, a former dancer at the theatre. Hanna has inherited billions, and all of the leading lights of the cultural world want to get their hands on it. Her old flame, the actor Danilo, also shows up.

ACT 2
Hanna Glawari has invited everyone to a party at home on her pig farm in Trøndelag. She wants to see just how low the desperate cultural hotshots will stoop in their attempts to nab her money. She annonces her very own culture award, and the competition – and romances – secretly begin.

ACT 3
We are back at the theatre in Bergen. This evening it has been hired out to a TV reality show – yet another of Zeta's creative ideas aimed art patching up to his theatre's ailing finances. Danilo is the decadent star and lover boy on this live event, but it turns out that Hanna has bought the whole show and is going to give it an ending that no one has anticipated.

Enjoy the romantic duet "Lippen schweigen" from The Merry Widow, performed in concert by tenor Jonas Kaufmann and soprano Diana Damrau:

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