Original libretto: Karl Haffner and Richard Genée. Russian version: Tatiana Lopatina.
Performed in German and Russian (with Russian subtitles)
Musical director and Conductor: Evgeny Volynsky
Stage director: Vyacheslav Starodubtsev
Set designer, co-director (scenery and costumes): Vyacheslav Okunev
Video content: Vadim Dulenko
Lighting: Igor Yakushev
Stage movement: Anna Ryabukhina
Chief chorus master: Vyacheslav Podyelsky
Assistant Set designer: Petr Okunev
Conducto: Eldar Nagiev
Chorus master: Sergei Tenitilov
Assistant Stage director: Nikolai Natsybulin
2 hours 25 minutes
Main stage premiere: 28 May 2019
Die Fledermaus is the finest Johann Strauss’ work in operetta genre, and the most perfect, classic example of this genre, where bright, festive emotions and romantic adventures are celebrated to captivating dance rhythms along with exposing hilarious shenanigans and issues of married life. The plot and the music are imbued with wit, irony and subtle humor; it captures from the first minutes and creates the holiday spirit.
Die Fledermaus is an entertaining performance close to the Italian opera buffa genre. Its music is filled with bright colors, endless melodic ingenuity and infused with Viennese waltz spirit.
The story told by the composer and librettists describes ageless married life issues, love and jealousy, joy and disappointment. The spicy situations the characters get themselves into, allow building up a captivating narrative. The unfaithful Eisenstein is going to fall back in love with his wife, redressed as a pretty stranger, and the loveable Rosalinde is about to learn new edges of female wisdom and charm to revive old feelings and save the family hearth.
Appealing to the light genre masterpiece (which is not easy to perform at all!) is a new, but not quite expected step for the Novosibirsk opera company. The score of Die Fledermaus, thoroughly and finely written by Strauss, deserves the opera stage, which was put to effect by numerous world theatres. It is for a good reason that the critics refer to it as “the most operatic of all operettas”.
The action takes place in Vienna suburbs in the last quarter of the XIX century. The plot is based on a true incident happened in Paris. French anecdote fit well into Austrian environment. Librettists change only the names in Meilhac and Halévy’s piece.
A room in Gabriel von Eisenstein’s villa. Behind the window Alfred is heard serenading his old flame, Rosalinde von Eisenstein. The chambermaid Adele is reading a letter from her sister Ida, a ballet dancer. She tells she will be at the ball held at the villa of young Prince Orlofsky and she may take Adele with her if she manages to find a decent outfit from her mistress’ clothes. Rosalinde enters the room and Adele begs her for a night off to visit her old sick aunt. Rosalinde refuses to do that: tonight her husband starts a five days jail term and she cannot stay home alone without Adele. Chambermaid leaves in tears, when Alfred appears in the window. Rosalinde is horrified: her husband is still at home, he may come in any moment! However, Alfred leaves after receiving her consent to meet tonight. He barely escapes when Eisenstein rushes in accompanied by doctor Blind.
Visit of Eisenstein’s friend Falke lifts his spirits. As soon as Rosalinde leaves, Falke starts to convince Eisenstein to go to the ball instead of jail. It doesn’t take him much time to win Eisenstein over. Falke leaves; sad Rosalinde sees her husband off to prison, wondering why one would need to wear formal attire for that kind of place. She lets Adele go as well.
The second she was left alone, Alfred crawls into the window. He is eager to take the vacant spot: he’s putting on Eisenstein’s house coat, eating his dinner, drinking his wine. The happy moment is interrupted by Frank, the warden, who came in person to escort the house owner to prison. Frank has no doubts: a drunken man in sleeping gown surely must be the one he’s looking for. Rosalinde begs Alfred to pass as Eisenstein and go to prison. Frank takes the man to prison.
Everyone is having a wonderful time at Prince Orlofsky’s ball. The guests chorus is followed by Orlofsky’s dare-devil verses. The dancers invited by the Prince are here, along with Adele wearing her mistress’ fancy dress, her sister Ida and Eisenstein dressed as a marquis. Eisenstein recognizes Adele by his wife’s dress, they both agree on keeping their true identity in secret. Frank, the warden, is also here; he introduces himself to the marquis as a noble gentleman, and both sympathizing with each other. At last, Rosalinde appears. She impersonates a Hungarian countess. Fascinated by the “countess”, Eisenstein comes on her. Enamored, he presents Rosalinde with his watch. The ball goes on, but the clock strikes midnight. Eisenstein must go to prison. Frank rushes there too.
At the prison. Warden Frank returns to his prison office a bit tipsy and falls asleep on the arm chair. He is awaken by the jailer Frosch coming with a report. Mr. Eisenstein previously arrested by the warden himself demands a lawyer, so Frosch brings him doctor Blind.
Adele and Ida enter. Adele persuades Frank to help her start a theatre career. She sings. Her verses, delicate and frivolous, start as a smooth barcarolle, turning into a march and then into a merry polka dance. Frank wants to respond, but Eisenstein enters with intent to serve his time in prison. Rosalinde appears. She thinks her husband is not here yet, and wants to help Alfred out. This incurs a large musical scene with plenty of diverse emotions. To calm down her angry husband Rosalinde produces the watch he presented to the “Hungarian countess”. The operetta ends with the spouses reconciling and more revelry.