Franz Lehár (1870-1948)
Lippen schweigen from Die lustige Witwe
Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) by Franz Lehár, which was first seen in Vienna on 30 December 1905, tells the story of Hanna Giawari, the Merry Widow herself, and of the attempts made by Baron Zeta, the Ambassador in Paris from the impoverished state of Pontevidrinia, to keep her and her considerable fortune in that country. He chooses for her a suitable new husband, Count Danilo Danilowitsch, but as the Count does not wish to be seen as a fortune hunter he at first declines, although the idea of marriage to Hanna secretly appeals to him. This love that has until then remained unspoken is described during Act III in the duet Lippen schweigen (Lips are silent) to the music of the famous waltz. When soon after this he learns that one of the conditions of Hanna's late husband's will is that her inheritance is lost to her if she remarries, Danilo promptly proposes. All ends with happiness and financial security, however, since Hanna had omitted to tell anyone that according to the will all the money she forfeits by marrying goes automatically to her second husband, thus staying in the family after all.
© 2000 Peter Avis