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Franz Lehár (30 April 1870 – 24 October 1948) was an Austro-Hungarian composer. He is mainly known for his operettas, of which the most successful and best known is The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe).
Lehár was born in Komárom, Hungary, to a family of musicians. He studied violin and composition at the Prague Conservatory. In 1890, he joined the army as a bandmaster. While in the army, he continued to compose, and his first operetta, The Gypsy Baron, was premiered in 1904.
The Merry Widow, which premiered in 1905, was an instant success. It ran for over 500 performances in Vienna and was translated into many languages. It is still one of the most popular operettas ever written.
Lehár wrote over 30 operettas, including The Count of Luxembourg, The Land of Smiles, and The Blue Diamond. He also composed several ballets, songs, and incidental music for plays.
Lehár was a popular and successful composer during his lifetime. He was knighted by the Austrian government in 1930. He died in Bad Ischl, Austria, in 1948.