Virginia Opera, The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, presents a revival of Die Fledermaus by “Waltz King” Johann Strauss II, as the second production of its 38th Season. Regularly scheduled performances will be held in Norfolk, Richmond and Fairfax, with an additional performance now scheduled in Richmond for Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m., after the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Helmed by famed director Dorothy Danner, this production was first performed at Virginia Opera in 2003, where it was hailed as “sparkling and successful” by The Virginian-Pilot and “one of the most thoroughly enjoyable operatic experiences” by The Washington Post.
Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is a hilarious tale of mistaken identities and revenge inspired by The Prison by German playwright Julius Roderich Benedix, as well as the French vaudeville play, Le réveillon, by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. Strauss perfectly captures the spirit of late-19th century Vienna, where waltzes and champagne ruled, as feuding spouses Gabriel and Rosalinde von Eisenstein are caught separately enjoying a dazzling masked ball. Hilarity ensues when the scheming Dr. Falke seeks vengeance on Gabriel for a past prank. Strauss infused his operetta masterpiece with the glittering lifestyle of the Viennese upper class: grand parties, masked balls, champagne toasts and the lively music that accompanied it all.
Acclaimed director Dorothy Danner has directed nearly 200 productions of operas, musicals and plays throughout the United States, Canada and Belgium. Danner made her directorial debut with Virginia Opera in 1998 with Lehár’s The Merry Widow, and has returned numerous times since for productions of Porgy and Bess (2000), Tosca (2001), A Christmas Carol (2002), Die Fledermaus (2003), The Merry Widow (2004), La Traviata (2005), Susannah (2006), Carmen (2007), The Elixir of Love (2008), Lucia di Lammermoor (2009), The Daughter of the Regiment (2009), Madama Butterfly (2011), and most recently, The Mikado (2012).
Says Danner of revisiting her production, “There always seems to be something new and fascinating to discover when we return to even the most familiar operas. Die Fledermaus is both a glorious tribute to the spirit of Vienna and a delightful tale of revenge. Many operas lend themselves to imaginative modernizations. But Fledermaus springs so defiantly from the waltz-crazed world of 1874 that it seems more essential to recreate the giddy atmosphere of Strauss’ Vienna than to update it.”
This production marks the company debut of Conductor Gary Thor Wedow, who has been recognized for his “hot music making” by The Baltimore Sun. Wedow makes frequent appearances at Virginia’s Wolf Trap Opera Company and has served as faculty for The Juilliard School since 1994.
Soprano Emily Pulley will replace Christina Pier as the mischievous Rosalinde. Soprano Sarah Jane McMahon returns to Virginia Opera as the flirtatious maid Adele, after her critically-acclaimed performance in the 2010 Virginia Opera production of Don Giovanni. Mezzo-Soprano Abigail Nims makes her Company debut as fun-loving party host Orlovsky. Also performing their Company debuts are: Baritone Philip Cutlip as the womanizing von Eisenstein, Tenor Ryan MacPherson as Rosalinde’s secret lover Alfred, and Baritone Christopher Burchett as the revenge-seeking Dr. Falke. In a special appearance, Bass-Baritone Jake Gardner returns to Virginia Opera as the prison warden Frank, after having previously performed in Virginia Opera’s inaugural season production of Verdi’s La Traviata in 1975.
Die Fledermaus will be performed in English with English supertitles projected above the stage. The Orchestra for this Virginia Opera production is provided by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Each performance will feature a free 30-minute pre-opera discussion by Virginia Opera’s Dr. Glenn “Dr. Opera” Winters.
Performance Dates and Ticket Information
Tickets range from $25 to $114 and are available at www.vaopera.org with student, group and active military discounts available. The production opens on Saturday, Nov. 10, in Norfolk, Va., and is scheduled to appear in all three Virginia Opera venues as follows:
Harrison Opera House
Sat., Nov.10, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 14, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 16, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 18, 2012, 2:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 23, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Nov.25, 2012, 2:30 p.m.
Tues., Nov.27, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
George Mason University
Center for the Arts
Fri., Nov. 30, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 2, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Student Night at the Opera
Virginia Opera will offer multiple Student Night at the Opera performances for Die Fledermaus. Student Night at the Opera allows students and chaperones to experience the power of live opera, with unparalleled access at reduced ticket prices, in order to broaden appreciation for cultural arts in our community. A special “Students Only” performance will be held in Norfolk on Nov. 8, 2012. Student Night at the Opera tickets will also be available for Richmond performance dates, Nov. 23 and 27, 2012. For more details about Student Night at the Opera or to purchase tickets, visit our website.