The new Merry Widow is interesting (in advance, at least) on several counts. It is directed by Susan Stroman (a star alumna of my own University of Delaware, by the way), who is famous on Broadway for her visual and choreographic flair. Theater directors in opera are nothing new, of course, but we'll have to wait and see if she, who began as a dancer and deviser of tricky dance routines (as in Crazy for You and the Oklahoma! revival) adapts to opera needs. Or operetta, in this case.

Likewise, importing musical-theater performers for "special" featured roles has been going on a long time -- the Met has always done so for Frosch in Fledermaus (Jack Gilford, Sid Caesar, Danny Burstein) -- but entrusting a soubrette role, even in "light" opera, to a Broadway leading lady like Kelli O'Hara (The Pajama Game, South Pacific, Bridges of Madison County) is something new for them. Of course she, like many of her type, studied legitimate voice in college and performed in their opera productions. But putting it on the line after all this time is another matter. I'm curious, for sure.