A Classic Comedy With A Batty Twist
This blog post is by Emily Schweich, a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major.
For college students looking for their first taste of opera, Die Fledermaus has it all.
Die Fledermaus is a classic comedy, filled with mistaken and hidden identities, lovable pranksters and lots and lots of champagne. With German arias and spoken dialogue in English, it’s quick, witty and engaging for the audience.
Katie Baughman was a standout as Adele, Eisenstein’s chambermaid, who sneaks off to the party and pretends to be a distinguished lady. In “Mein Herr Marquis, ein Mann wie Sie,” she runs into Eisenstein at the party and mocks him for thinking she is his chambermaid. Her voice is agile, resonant and sparkly, perfect for Strauss.
Eisenstein (Alec Donaldson) is about to go to jail for eight days, and the mischievous Falke (Keith Browning) seizes this opportunity to seek revenge, whisking Eisenstein off to a party and convincing his wife Rosalinde (Madeline Cain) that he is going right to prison. Meanwhile, Rosalinde is hiding a secret of her own – an old suitor, Alfred (Brian Wallin), who is singing at her window, begging to reunite. They bid farewell, each appearing sorrowful but secretly giddy at the night’s prospects, in one of the most memorable scenes of the operetta. Wallin was delightful as the charming Alfred and elicited many laughs with his dramatic renditions of tenor arias.
Katie Baughman was a standout as Adele, Eisenstein’s chambermaid, who sneaks off to the party and pretends to be a distinguished lady. In “Mein Herr Marquis, ein Mann wie Sie,” she runs into Eisenstein at the party and mocks him for thinking she is his chambermaid. Her voice is agile, resonant and sparkly, perfect for Strauss. As Adele’s sister, Ida, who hopes to woo the perpetually-bored Prince Orlofsky (Amanda Tittle), Katherine Ann Brandt was subtly charming and had a beautiful voice. Patrick Kilbride only added to the comedic hijinks as the hapless Dr. Blind, Eisenstein’s briefcase-wielding lawyer.
Beautiful, elaborate sets made the show a feast for the eyes, and the intricate costumes were exquisite, down to the very last detail. Surprise guests, including School of Music associate professor Gran Wilson, made appearances in the second act, performing beloved arias at the party. This cabaret, while lengthy, made the audience roar.
Yet for all its comedy and revelry, the Maryland Opera Studio’s production of Die Fledermaus is truly professional. These young performers reveal their versatility and authenticity as both singers and actors.
We might not show up to a party disguised as a Hungarian countess, and we might not have an opera-singing ex-lover sneaking in our window (Ah, I wish!), but we’ve definitely pretended to be someone we’re not, and we know what it’s like to want revenge. The Maryland Opera Studio’s production of Strauss’ “revenge operetta” is timeless.
*Emily saw the 4/13 performance. Some roles were double-cast.