Saturday, May 17, 2014

La vedova allegra (1968)

Record Cover (front)

Record Cover (back)
La vedova allegra (aka The Merry Widow) is a famous three-part opera that originated in Austria in 1905, based on an 1861 play.  It has spawned numerous performances and films through the years.  In mid-March of 1968, RAI TV in Italy launched a series of operas, starting with Le vedova allegra, which starred Catherine and Johnny Dorelli.  This TV version scored high in the ratings.
  • The March 20, 1968 Variety reported:  "After postponement of 'Operetta '68' at the time of the Sicilian earthquake, RAI-TV finally launched it last week with "The Merry Widow," starring Catherine Spaak and Johnny Dorelli." 
  • The June 26, 1968 Variety reported:  "'The Merry Widow,' an updated lyric version starring Catherine Spaak in the title role, was highlight of the operetta series, averaging 16,800,000 viewers and 73% audience approval for the two-part show."
According to the Italian wikipedia page for Johnny Dorelli, Catherine's vocals in La vedova allegra were dubbed by Lucia Mannucci.  I hope to find further information and confirmation concerning this point in the future.

I have not yet been able to track down any other information on this filmed-for-TV opera.  It does not appear to have been released on home video, but here is a 6-minute clip that has recently appeared on youtube.

Here is a link to the plot summary of the opera from wikipedia:

Plot Summary for La vedova allegra

I think that this April 12, 1968 magazine cover of Catherine and Dorelli is a scene from La vedova allegra:

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