Scored for a large orchestra, Giuditta (1934) was Lehár’s last and most ambitious work, written and designed on a larger scale than his previous operettas. It is the one which most approaches true opera, and the resemblances between the story and that of Bizet’s Carmen - and its unhappy ending - heighten the resonance. As with many of Lehár’s later works, the lead tenor role (Octavio) was originally played by the celebrated Richard Tauber. Often considered as one of his finest works, Giuditta was also a personal favourite of the composer’s, and features the unforgettable soprano aria Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß, which is still a popular part of the repertoire today. SYNOPSIS: Giuditta abandons her husband Manuele, a carpenter, and runs off with Octavio, an army officer, to his villa in North Africa. Military obligations intervene, and Octavio is forced to leave Giuditta behind. She becomes a night club dancer, only to be discovered by Octavio, after he eventually deserts his unit. Giuditta is a success in her new profession, but - able only to watch helplessly - Octavio’s self-esteem is destroyed, and he becomes a club pianist in Europe. During a chance encounter at a supper, Giuditta confronts Octavio, and begs him to return to her. He wants nothing to do with her anymore, and Giuditta leaves with a wealthy Duke.
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