Ferencz Lehar (1870-1948)

Episodes

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01A New Dawn For Viennese Operetta20111226

A naturally gifted melodist and orchestrator, Franz Léhar is credited with instigating a period in musical history that's known as the "silver age of Viennese operetta". Boldly leaving behind the likes of Offfenbach and his followers, Léhar drew inspiration from the romanticism of opera composers like Puccini and Mascagni. In doing so, he changed the face of operetta forever. In this first programme Donald Macleod is joined by the tenor Alfie Boe, a life-long Léhar enthusiast.

Donald Macleod and Alfie Boe explore the work of Lehar, the king of Viennese operetta.

02Fame And Fortune20111227

When Franz Léhar arrived in Vienna on 1st November 1899 he was 29 and had high hopes of making a name for himself. The dashing bandmaster of the 26th Infantry Regiment quickly established himself as a conductor, before being snapped up by the director of the prestigious Theater an der Wien, Vienna's premiere operetta stage. Within three short years the ambitious young man would see three of his operettas performed within a few weeks of each other. It was the start of a career that would lead to the most successful operetta of all, The Merry Widow.

With Donald Macleod. Lehar arrived in Vienna in November 1899 and established himself.

03London And The World20111228

In London the success of Franz Léhar's "The Merry Widow" was assured by the genius of theatre director George Edwardes. He understood what an English audience would want and cast the operetta accordingly. It went down a storm, moving to New York, where it caught on like wildfire. Léhar's only problem was how to create anything better. Presented by Donald Macleod.

With Donald Macleod. In London, George Edwardes ensured the success of The Merry Widow.

04The Great War20111229

Léhar's "socialist" operetta, Eva was in some ways a response to the political upheaval experienced in Austria in the lead up to the Great War. Today Donald Macleod looks at some of the projects that Léhar worked on during this uncertain period, including his response to his brother Anton's dramatic recovery from injury.

Donald Macleod examines the projects Lehar worked on during the lead-up to the Great War.

05 LAST Lehar And Richard Tauber20111230

Léhar's collaboration with tenor Richard Tauber began at a point in the composer's career when he desperately needed a new direction. The sequence of operettas that followed, went a long way towards reaching the culmination of Léhar's ambitions with the genre. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod explores Lehar's collaboration with tenor Richard Tauber.