The diplomat Danilo’s motto is “Love quite a lot, promise rarely, marry never”. But it’s a hard standard to live up to when the whole of Pontevedro is vying for the attention of the love of his life, wealthy widow Hanna. Someone has to keep the immense fortune (and the person attached to it) in the country.

Yes it’s Lehár’s The Merry Widow, bubbling over with opulence and mirth in a new production by Graeme Murphy. The Opera Conference production premiered in Perth on July 15 as part of West Australian Opera’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. Taryn Fiebig made her long-overdue company debut as Hanna under the baton of Vanessa Scammell, WA Opera’s first female conductor.

The Merry Widow, West Australian Opera West Australian Opera’s The Merry Widow. Photos © James Rogers

If there was a lot of champagne overflowing at the interval celebrations there was just as much on stage. Michael Scott-Mitchell’s lavish Art Deco set, Justin Fleming’s new streamlined English translation and Jennifer Irwin’s dazzling costumes were the backdrop for a dance-infused show where every act was a party fizzing with romance and comedy.

Immense bronze latticework set the scene for the Embassy...