A practical joke. A secret rendezvous. One man’s elaborate plan for revenge leads to a rousing evening of mistaken identities, flirtations, and light-hearted deceit in Johann Strauss’ most celebrated operetta, Die Fledermaus. Set in 19th-century Vienna, this delightful farce is filled with effervescent melodies, lilting waltzes and charming sentiment. From the sparkling overture to the rollicking tribute to champagne, the Waltz King’s madcap masterpiece is the jewel of the golden age of operetta.
Always entertaining, Die Fledermaus has long been one of my favorite operettas. I love the silliness of the plot, the ridiculously over-the-top characters, and the delightful music. When I heard Opera San Jose was performing this during the 2012-13 season, I was very excited.
Since there is a lot of spoken dialogue in operetta, the director made a choice not unusual in opera: the spoken lines were in English, while the songs were sung in German with super-titles projected overhead. It works well, and lets the viewer enjoy joke punchlines without that awkward pause as everyone reads the translation.
It was a very fun opera to watch. Michael Dailey has improved dramatically in his singing over the past year, and his performance as Alfred was the standout amongst the ensemble. The actress playing the role of Adele, Jillian Boye, sparkled as well. The rest of the cast didn't impress me much, but everyone still came together and entertained for the evening in lavish dresses (some of them were truly hideous, but such is the life of a costume) and bubbly songs about women and champagne.