Lehár, Ferencz [ Franz Lehár] (b Komáron, 1870; d Bad Ischl, 1948). Austro-Hung. composer. Advised by Dvořák to concentrate on comp. Joined Elberfeld opera orch. as violinist, then became ass. leader of his father's band. Cond. of various army bands 1890–1902. Cond., Theater an der Wien, Vienna, 1902. His Wiener Frauen was produced there Nov. 1902 and after its success he stayed in Vienna and devoted his time to comp. His operetta, Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) was a colossal success not only at its Vienna première in 1905 but all over the world ever since. He was the bridge between the Strausses and Zeller and the later Oskar Straus, Fall, and Kálmán. In the 1920s the v. of Richard Tauber became indelibly associated with Lehár roles and one above all—in Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles)—a rev. of Die gelbe Jacke (1923)—in 1929. He wrote a full-scale opera, Giuditta (Vienna State Opera, 1934) and several other operettas: Der Graf von Luxemburg (The Count of Luxemburg) (1909), Zigeunerliebe (1910), Frasquita (1922), Paganini (1925), Der Zarewitsch (1926), and Friederike (1928). Also wrote sonatas, sym.-poems, vn. conc., marches, and dances (incl. the concert-waltz Gold and Silver, 1902). His villa in Bad Ischl is now a museum and an annual Lehár Fest. is held in the spa. Cond. Vienna PO in prog. of his mus., Salzburg Fest. 1940.
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