Ferenc Lehár B.
The operetta, which is the forerunner of the musicals of today,
is a genre in which Hungarian
composers such as Pongrác Kacsóh, Jenô Huszka, Imre Kálmán, Viktor
especially Ferenc Lehár made great contributions. Ferenc Lehár was
born in 1870 in Komárom the son of a military bandmaster. After
finishing his musical studies in Prague he followed in his father's
footsteps and travelled from one garrison town to another as a military
bandmaster of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was a young man at
the time of the belle époque which was a particularly favourable
period for the flowering of Lehar's musical genius. In addition,
being a bandmaster as well as assuring him the rank of officer also
meant that he was financially secure.
In Vienna he composed 2 violin concertos, which made him famous,
and in 1905 he wrote his world-famous operetta "The Merry Widow"
the style of which was widely imitated. "The Merry Widow"
is full of emotions and gaiety
with rapid changes of events and sparkling wit and this together
with its musicality and modernity explain why it and "The Count
of Luxembourg" are still performed today in theatres all over
the world. Although Lehár lived most of his life in Vienna he always
kept his Hungarian citizenship, and after 1945 even tried to return
home, but the communists under Mátyás Rákosi prevented him from
doing so. He finally died in 1948 in Bad Ischl the spa town famous
during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but his enchanting
music lives on.