Premiere: Theater an der Wien, Vienna, 1905. Lehár’s captivating romantic comedy was the biggest success of the composer’s career and, along with Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, represents the most enduringly popular example of the operetta genre. Set in Paris, the story centers on Hanna Glawari, a fabulously wealthy young widow from a fictional Eastern European country and the attempts of its ambassador to find her a new husband in order to keep her fortune in the country and save it from bankruptcy. Mixed in with this are Hanna’s unexpected reunion with a former admirer and the flirtation of the ambassador’s wife with a young Frenchman. The plentiful opportunities for a wide range of romantic and humorous stage magic are obvious, particularly within the operetta format of musical numbers interspersed with spoken dialogue.