Music: Light-Opera Boom

Viennese operetta, the champagne of the Habsburgs, is doing its biggest U.S. business in years. In Manhattan during the past few months the lilting waltzes of Chocolate Soldier, The Merry Widow, Gypsy Baron, Beggar Student and Fledermaus have drawn throngs of moist-eyed listeners to Carnegie Hall and the Lewisohn Stadium. Produced in German by troupes of Viennese refugees, or in English by personable companies of youthful U.S. singers, Johann Strauss, Karl Millocker and Franz Lehar have played to packed houses for weeks at a time.

Last week Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus (The Bat), considered...

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