Franz Lehár

150th birthday


Wiener Symphoniker honor Franz Lehár with a film project

In addition to Ludwig van Beethoven, the music world celebrates another great representative of Viennese music culture in 2020: Franz Lehár, whose 150th birthday the Symphoniker want to celebrate, since the founder of the Silver Operetta Era was one of the central artistic companions of the orchestra. The Wiener Symphoniker have performed more than 120 of his compositions in a total of more than 150 events throughout their history. Lehár himself was at the conductor’s podium of the Symphoniker over 20 times. His unforgettable melodies have become the symbol of a Viennese sound culture that is still as much a matter of the heart as the orchestra's core competence.

The current corona-related tour and concert cancellations now provided the scheduling scope in the orchestral calendar to deal intensively with Lehár's work. The result is a media project that the Wiener Symphoniker are currently recording under the expert direction of Manfred Honeck, and in cooperation with the Theater an der Wien, the ORF and radio Ö1. With such illustrious singers from the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper as the Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund and the two tenors KS Piotr Beczała and KS Michel Schade, the most popular melodies and rousing numbers from Lehár's "The Merry Widow", "The Land of Smiles", "Zarewitsch", "The Count of Luxembourg" and "Giuditta" are recorded. The recording is used on the one hand for the Lehár documentary by Thomas Macho, which will be broadcast on ORF 2 on October 26. At the same time, a TV concert film will be created, which will be broadcast later on and will also be marketed internationally.




Jan Nast, intendant of the Wiener Symphoniker, explains: "The known restrictions fighting against the corona pandemic have of course also forced us to take new, innovative ways to open up new sources of income and occupy our musicians as economically effective and artistically productive
as possible. In addition to the various concert projects with, among others, Igor Levit and Rudolf Buchbinder, which we can now hold in front of a small audience in the Vienna concert halls, media projects like this represent an option to use our otherwise idle capacities. At the same time, the Lehár project is, because of the close personal connection between the composer and the orchestra, a matter close to my heart, which I have been pursuing with the Symphoniker since I started. It is a certain irony that it was now possible under the difficult current conditions and then even with such fantastic interpreters."

In cooperation with Theater an der Wien.