In Emmerich Kálmán’s Gypsy Princess (1915), Sylva Varescu, a well-known cabaret singer, is in love with Prince Edwin von und zu Lippert-Weylersheim, who has had another match arranged by his disapproving family. In the end, the Prince's mother, Princess Karen, saves the day by revealing that she had also once been a cabaret singer.
Johann Strauss II’s Wiener Blut made use of melodies from his older and lesser-known works. The title is taken from one of Strauss’ most popular waltzes (Wiener Blut - op.354). Before today’s “jukebox musicals” like Mamma Mia, which are based on the back catalog of a pop group, Wiener Blut used a similar structure.
Franz Lehar’s The Land of Smiles (1929), one of his later operettas, was written largely around the performance of Richard Tauber. Composers would often write signature arias for Tauber, a renowned Austrian tenor, which, in The Land of Smiles, is “You Are My Heart’s Delight.” Audiences attending the original London production would have heard the aria sung by Tauber himself.
Johann Strauss II’s The Gypsy Baron (1885) is the first Viennese operetta set in Hungary. It was born out of Strauss’ visits to Budapest and his acquaintanceship with Hungarian writer Mór Jókai. The main characters are Hungarians and Gypsies and these influences are evident in the score, which combines Hungarian csárdás, Gypsy music, and Viennese waltz.
Lehar’s The Merry Widow takes place in the early 20th century, both in Paris and in the expatriate community of Pontevedro, a fictional Balkan country reminiscent of Montenegro. The operetta opens with a ball in the Embassy of Pontevedro in Paris.