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Alexander Joel at the Boston Lyric Opera

Alexander Joel

A very deep-seated history informs a conductor's North American debut at the Boston Lyric Opera's new production of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow.

The Boston Lyric Opera is performing one of the most popular operettas of all time for the first time. Lehar's The Merry Widow captures a particular elegance and sincerity of emotion that make for great light opera, and they've brought in a conductor who credits that kind of music with launching his career. I had a chance to talk with Alexander Joel (who, by the way, has a famous brother named Billy), and he described that background for me.

You can hear the entire conversation on this week's episode of The Answered Question (starts 3:15):

The setting for the opera has been shifted from Lehar's original 1905 to 1913, just before the beginning of World War I. The BLO has a TON of information and background on the piece, including a beautiful photo gallery. It includes shots like this, of Erin Wall as Hanna Glawari (the title character), and Roger Honeywell as Count Danilo:

Credit Photo by T. Charles Erickson

For more information about BLO's production of The Merry Widow, visit the Boston Lyric Opera.