Villa Lehar

 

Villa Lehár stands on the banks of the Traun River and is located only five hundred meters from the main train station of the famous Austrian resort of Bad Ischl. The famous Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár, the author of many operettas, lived here for several decades. It was in the town of Bad Ischl in 1903 that Lehar met the love of his life - Sofia Pashkis. And the composer acquired the villa itself only nine years later - in 1912, previously it belonged to the Duchess von Sabran. Interestingly, Lehar purchased this villa solely because it was located next to the house of his beloved Sofia, who was already married, and therefore for a long time they could not legitimize their relationship. Since 1912, this villa served as the summer residence of Lehar himself, and later of his wife Sophia.

The building itself stands on the banks of the river and is a small three-story building, decorated with an elegant triangular pediment. According to the will of Lehar, who died in Ischl in 1948, his villa was transferred to the ownership of the city. Now it houses a museum of the famous composer - here you can find antique furniture, clocks, paintings, sculptures, other decorative art items and a variety of antiques. In the former house of Sofia Pashkis, a museum is also now open, called the Museum of the Motherland (Heimatmuseum) or Old Ischl (Alt-Ischl). It also displays various works of art, antiques and other curious rarities.

It was when Lehar was staying at his villa in Ischl that he composed his most successful pieces of music. The composer himself said that in Ischl they always find brilliant ideas for him. Here Lehar developed the following works: "Count Luxembourg", "Eve", "Paganini", "Tsarevich", his last operetta "Giuditta" and, of course, the famous "Merry Widow". The scores of some parts are presented in the museum even now.

 

In the villa there is valuable furniture from several eras, some of which Lehár was given as a gift, numerous paintings, clocks, sculptures and other works of art.

The neighboring house at Lehár-Kai 10, where Franz Lehár's wife Sophie lived, now houses the “Alt-Ischl” museum, known as the Heimatmuseum (local history museum) with other rarities and valuables. Sophie transferred her residence to her husband Franz in 1940 by means of a donation agreement.

 

Lehár's work in the villa
Lehár liked to spend the summer composing in this villa. He said: “In Ischl I always have the best ideas”. This can also be seen in the ten laurel wreaths that are hung in one of the rooms. He received this when one of his operettas was particularly successful. Most of his operettas were written in the villa's large study.