• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Review: Die Fledermaus

ByHannah Udall

Mar 26, 2023
Image from Die Fledermaus performance

 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Die Fledermaus combines light-hearted comedy with bright and beautifully precise musical motifs, producing a performance which is a joy to watch. I recommend this operetta to both frequent opera-goers and people who have never seen an opera; it contains many themes characteristic of operas — such as mistaken identities and amorous deception — in a condensed form. Moreover, it is translated into English, making it accessible to English-speaking audiences.

The deception inherent to the play is introduced from the start with Eisenstein, played by Cameron Mitchell, dressing up in evening attire to go to ‘prison’ whilst planning to attend a party. He dresses up in the presence of his wife, Rosalinda, who has mixed feelings of melancholy and urgency; she is sad her husband is going to prison but also plans to attend a party.

It turns out the party they are both referring to is the same, with Adele, the parlourmaid turning up too in disguise. Rosalinda is wearing a mask, so is unidentifiable by her husband, Eisenstein, who proceeds to flirt with this unknown woman. Unfortunately for Eisenstein, he is easily identifiable by his wife, and she is shocked at his impudence. This is the start of the downfall of Eisenstein.

This production is wonderfully comedic and relatable; it includes Scottish and English references and universal motifs, such as relationships and New Year’s Eve parties. The director, Katarina Keck, successfully emphasises these themes to connect the traditional Viennese operetta to a modern-day audience in Edinburgh.

The New Year’s Eve party culminates with everyone drinking champagne and the singing of the Finale movement, ‘All I want is More Champagne!’, which is a hilarious piece. The music is elegantly light, with a relentlessness that propels the operetta towards its culmination.

There are yet more disguises to come, with Eisenstein disguising himself as Blind, the lawyer, to get Rosalinda to confess her kiss with Alfred. Yet the kiss is undeniably Alfred’s fault, and Rosalinda’s evidence of Eisenstein’s flirtatious demeanour at the party makes him look ridiculous. This operetta grants the female characters insight and agency without this having to be concurrent with promiscuity like in operas such as Violanta by Korngold. Both Adele and Rosalinda are powerful female figures, and whilst Ida is a comedic character, there is a fair share of male comedic characters too.

The operetta has a significant number of spoken lines, which aids comprehension of the plot and allows the direct communication of jokes. Frosch is a character with almost solely spoken lines played by Theo Chevis, a hilarious character who brings British cultural references and satirical comedy to the performance. Frosch’s sketch provides a refreshing break in the music before the end movements; he allows the audience to recount what has happened and for the characters to recover from their hangovers!

I thoroughly enjoyed the operetta, particularly Stephanie Strachan’s performance of Adele, who had me laughing throughout the performance. I recommend everyone to see this operetta, especially people who are convinced opera is not for them — this performance will leave you feeling surprised!

8th, 10th and 11th March 2023, Pleasance Theatre

Edinburgh Studio Opera and Edinburgh University Chamber Orchestra

Image by Killian MacDonald provided via Press Release