Lehár, Franz (fränts lĕˈhär) [key], 1870–1948, Hungarian composer of operettas. After completing studies at the Prague Conservatory (1882–88), he began a career as a conductor of military bands and settled in Vienna. There, following the success of his first operetta, Wiener Frauen (1902), he devoted himself to composition. He endowed such works as Der Graf von Luxemburg (1909) and Zigeunerliebe (1910) with his engaging melodies, capturing the frivolous gaiety that pervaded Viennese life early in the century. Die lustige Witwe ( The Merry Widow, 1905), his outstanding work, had international success.
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