Preview: VA Opera’s “Die Fledermaus”
Photo credit David A. Beloff
Virginia Opera presents their revival production of Die Fledermaus at Richmond CenterStage Friday, Nov. 23, Sunday, Nov. 25, and Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Die Fledermaus (“The Bat”) by Johann Strauss II offers a tale of revenge, mistaken identities, and a lavish masked ball where champagne flows like water. Don’t like the plotline of revenge fool you – Die Fledermaus is far from a stereotypical opera. Sung in English with projected English supertitles, this three-act production, directed by Dorothy Danner, is meant to be accessible, lighthearted, and fun.
Set in 19th-century Vienna, Dr. Falke had too much to drink at a costume party where he was dressed up as a bat. Instead of bringing Falke home like a good friend, Eisenstein decided it would be more entertaining to leave him passed in the town square. Of course, Dr. Falke woke up in the morning severely embarrassed. But Dr. Falke wasn’t going to let Eisenstein off easy; he plotted an elaborate scheme to get back at his friend, leading to elegant frivolities and riotous affairs that is the essence of this operetta.
What is great about this three-act escapade is the inclusion of the backstory in the overture, whereas in most productions, it is left for the audience to read beforehand. And instead of straying too far from the traditional production, Director Dorothy Danner notes, “Fledermaus springs so defiantly from the waltz-crazed world of 1874 that it seems more essential to recreate the giddy atmosphere of Strauss’s Vienna than to update it.”
Baritone Christopher Burchett, who plays Dr. Falke, has been in other productions of Fledermaus before, but mentions something special about this one.
“There is an amazing amount of excitement and energy on stage,” says Burchett. “There is something constantly happening. There is always movement and dancing.”
With Strauss’s combination of effervescent music, broad humor, and incomparable characters, this production promises an intoxicating and giddy experience, much like drinking champagne.
Performances are at Richmond’s historic Carpenter Theatre. Tickets are available at Richmond CenterStage Box Office, online at etix.com and charge-by-phone at 1-800-514-ETIX (3849). Ticket prices are $33.00 – $119.00.
Friday, November 23 at 8 pm.
Sunday November 25 at 2:30pm
Tuesday, November 27 at 7:30 pm.
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