The Greatest Operetta Festival
On Stage Season 2019 July 11 - Aug. 24
The Land of Smile
"Travel with us to faraway China!", is the slogan which has been devised by Peter Edelmann who is now in his second season as Director of the Seefestspiele Mörbisch. Peter Edelmann is planning to lead the vanguard of operetta directors with his production of "The Land of Smiles" by Franz Lehár on the world’s largest open-air operetta stage. The abundance of unforgettable melodies such as "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" and "Immer nur lächeln", which will be performed on the world’s largest operetta stage against the breathtaking backdrop of Lake Neusiedl, will ensure that audiences can expect to enjoy a spectacular evening that will be fondly remembered for years to come. Experience the touching love story between Lisa, a girl from Vienna, and the Chinese prince Sou-Chong who are governed by different cultures and social conventions. "The Land of Smiles" is perhaps the most impassioned of all the operettas and never fails to touch the hearts of every member of the audience," explains Peter Edelmann who goes on to guarantee, "an evening full of romance and powerful emotions." Put the date in your diary and be there when the Land of Smiles meets the Land of the Sun!
PRINCE SOU CHONG
Robin Yujoong Kim
PRINCE SOU CHONG
Won Whi Choi
Katerina von Bennigsen
FU LI, SECRETARY
COUNT FERDINAND LICHTENFELS
The Land of Smiles (German: Das Land des Lächelns) is a romantic operetta in three acts by Franz Lehár. The German language libretto was by Ludwig Herzer [de] and Fritz Löhner-Beda. The performance time is about 100 minutes.
This was one of Lehár's later works, and has a bittersweet ending which the Viennese loved. The title refers to the supposed Chinese custom of smiling, whatever happens in life. (The leading character, Prince Sou-Chong has a song early in the show, "Immer nur lächeln" ("Always smiling") which describes this.)
(30 April 1870 – 24 October 1948) was an Austro - Hungarian composer. He is mainly known for his operettas. Lehár was born in the northern part of Komárom, Austria-Hungary, the eldest son of Franz Lehár (senior),an Austrian bandmaster in the Infantry Regiment No. 50 of the Austro-Hungarian Army.
Franz Lehár studied violin at the Prague Conservatory, where his violin teacher was Antonín Bennewitz, but was advised by Antonín Dvořák to focus on composition. However, the Conservatory's rules at that time did not allow students to study both performance and composition, and Bennewitz and Lehár senior exerted pressure on Lehár to take his degree in violin as a practical matter, arguing that he could study composition on his own later. Lehár followed their wishes, against his will, and aside from a few clandestine lessons with Zdeněk Fibich he was self-taught as a composer. After graduation in 1888 he joined his father's band in Vienna, as assistant bandmaster. Two years later he became bandmaster at Losonc (today Lučenec, Slovakia), making him the youngest bandmaster in the Austro-Hungarian Army at that time, but he left the army and joined the navy. With the navy he was first Kapellmeister at Pola (Pula) from 1894 to 1896, resigning in the later year when his first opera, Kukuschka (later reworked as Tatjana in 1906), premiered in Leipzig. It was only a middling success and Lehár eventually rejoined the army, with service in the garrisons at Trieste, Budapest (1898) and finally Vienna from 1899 to 1902. In 1902 he became conductor at the historic Vienna Theater an der Wien, where his operetta Wiener Frauen was performed in November of that year.
He is most famous for his operettas. Individual songs from some of the operettas have become standards, notably "Vilja" from The Merry Widow and "You Are My Heart's Delight" ("Dein ist mein ganzes Herz") from The Land of Smiles (Das Land des Lächelns). His most ambitious work, Giuditta in 1934 is closer to opera than to operetta. It contains the ever popular "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß" ("On my lips every kiss is like wine").
Lehár was also associated with the operatic tenor Richard Tauber, who sang in many of his operettas, beginning with a revival of his 1910 operetta Zigeunerliebe in 1920 and then Frasquita [de] in 1922, in which Lehár once again found a suitable post-war style. Lehár made a brief appearance in the 1930 film adaptation The Land of Smiles starring Tauber. Between 1925 and 1934 he wrote six operettas specifically for Tauber's voice. By 1935 he decided to form his own publishing house, Glocken-Verlag (Publishing House of the Bells), to maximize his personal control over performance rights to his works.
DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHY
Leonard C. Prinsloo
Place: Vienna / Beijing, CHINA
Time: Around 1912.
The operetta is set in Vienna and China in 1912. In act 1 in Vienna, the heroine Countess Lisa marries a Chinese prince and returns with him to his homeland despite the warnings of her friends and family. In act 2, in Peking, she finds that she is unable to come to terms with his culture, and especially that he must take other wives. He assures her that it is just a formality, but unhappiness is inevitable, and she is locked in the palace. Her love changes to hate. In act 3, Prince Sou-Chong is left alone while his beloved Lisa returns to her homeland. His sister, Princess Mi had also become attached to the Viennese official Gustav, and so the ending is doubly sad. But the prince respects the rule of his custom: always smile.
Role / Voice type
Lisa, Count Ferdinand Lichtenfels' daughter soprano
Prince Sou-Chong tenor
Count Gustav von Pottenstein tenor
Princess Mi, Sou-Chong's sister soprano
Tschang, Sou-Chong's uncle baritone
Chief eunuch baritone
Count Ferdinand Lichtenfels spoken
Ling, head priest baritone
Lore, Lisa's niece spoken
Officers, mandarins, friends, brides, servants, maids (Chorus, ballet, extras)