Review: Die Fledermaus (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

| December 14, 2013 | 0 Comments
Bo Skovhus and Daniela Fally star in Lyric Opera's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)        
      
Die Fledermaus

Music by Johann Strauss Jr.
Libretto by Carl Haffner and Richard Genee 
Directed by E. Loren Meeker 
at Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker (map)
thru Jan 18  |  tickets: $34-$274   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets  
     
         
                 Read review
     



  
  

Three acts of topsy-turvy merriment

     

Act 3 of Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)

    
Lyric Opera of Chicago presents
    
Die Fledermaus

Review by Lawrence Bommer

Fresh from the San Francisco Opera—and equally so from its original venue, Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, Johann Strauss, Jr.’s ever-green masterpiece is the most inebriating operetta ever written. Watching it leaves you woozy, the famous waltzes mellowing and marinating an audience in their maudlin magnificence. The incarnation of holiday abandonment, especially New Year’s Eve fetes with its twin toasts to champagne, Die Fledermaus delivers three acts of topsy-turvy celebrations.

Juliane Banse stars as Rosalinde in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)And transformations, committed at a ball thrown by a bored young Russian prince: A capricious maid masquerades as an actress; a wife intent on exposing her philandering husband doubles as a Hungarian countess: the jailer of the prison where that husband was supposed to turn himself in for an eight-day sentence impersonates the “Chevalier de Chagrin,” while the all-too-wayward husband becomes the foxy “Marquis Renard.” In the cleverest deception of all, Prince Orlovsky, as played by Emily Fons, is as bright and spry a sprite as the original nobleboy.

The froth never settles in E. Loren Meeker’s intoxicating staging. Wolfram Skalicki’s brilliant cut-away sets open with a stage-stretching blow-up of the original program for the 1874 “Komische Operette,” then reveal the Eisenstein mansion as a huge Victorian doll house. Orlovsky’s Viennese villa is first shown as a noble façade, which opens up into a vast vestibule with huge semi-erotic painting, and finally the balcony-laden ballroom (inevitably recalling the venue for Verdi’s masked ball). Finally, a very empty jail soon fills to bursting in the hung-over third act: At last all the “mistakes of a night” are sorted out in a cascade of poetic justice.

As playful as regal, these storybook settings serve up Strauss’ strudel with contagious delight. So does the fail-proof cast, with Michael Spyres almost too animated as the horny husband, his mischief-making elegantly undermined by Juliane Banse’s commanding Rosalinde (a tad weak on the final note of the famous “Czardas,” but bewitching enough). Like many here, Banse fully engages in the second act’s elaborate ballet: Choreographer Daniel Pelzig cleverly integrates other selections by Strauss into the already irresistible social dances of the soiree’s programme, ¾ glories performed by the tipsy “Bruderlein und Schwesterlein” with “chacun a son gout.”

Daniela Fally commits herself completely to spitfire Adele’s “Laughing Aria” and “Audition Song.” As the stage-managing Dr. Falke, Adrian Eröd magisterially presides over his revenge against Eisenstein for publically humiliating him. (His “friend” allowed him to pass out, dressed as a bat, in public, where he was mocked as he flapped his way home.) David Cangelosi dithers dutifully as the slippery lawyer Dr. Blind, Andrew Shore incarnates Frank’s blundering civil servant, and Fred A. Wellisch turns the third-act’s opening into both vaudeville and an imitation of the comical porter in “Macbeth.”  (There’s even a slam at the Mayor of Toronto in Frosch’s shamelessly anachronistic comic monologue.)

Ward Stare conducts Lyric Opera’s consummate orchestra with Bacchanalian gusto, just the light touch that this silly stuff deserves. Strauss’ bat has seldom soared so high. Prost!

  
Rating: ★★★★
  
   

Die Fledermaus continues through January 18th at Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker (map). Tickets are $34-$274, and are available by phone (312-322-2244) or online through their website (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at LyricOpera.org.  (Running time: 3 hours 30 minutes, includes two intermissions)

Bo Skovhus and Adrian Erod in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest) Daniela Fally in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)
Bo Skovhus in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest) Daniela Fally, Andrew Shore and Julie Ann Miller in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)
Daniela Fally in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest) Michael Spyres, Bo, Skovhus and Juliane Banse in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)

Photos by Dan Rest


     

artists

cast

Juliane Banse (Rosalinde), Bo Skovhus (Eisenstein), Daniela Fally (Adele), Adrian Eröd (Falke), Michael Spyres (Alfred), Emily Fons (Prince Orlofsky), Andrew Shore (Frank), David Cangelosi (Dr. Blind), Fred Wellisch (Frosch), Julie Anne Miller (Ida), Will Liverman (Ivan)

behind the scenes

Ward Stare (conductor), E. Loren Meeker (director), Wolfram Skalicki (set design), Daniel Pelzig (choreographer), Thierry Bosquet (costume design), Duane Schuler (lighting design), Michael Black (chorus master), Dan Rest (photos)

Act 2 of Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)

A lively 2nd Act dance sequence from Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, directed by E. Loren Meeker. (photo credit: Dan Rest)

13-1213

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: 2013 Reviews, Civic Opera House, Lawrence Bommer, Lyric Opera, Opera

Comments (0)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.

Leave a Reply