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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Die Fledermaus" Opera @ WSU (Ogden: March 10 - 12)

photos on request

WHO: Weber State University Department of Performing Arts
WHAT: Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” directed by Karen Brookens
WHERE: Austad Auditorium, Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts
WHEN: March 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm • March 12 at 2 pm

Weber State University Department of Performing Arts presents Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” directed by Karen Brookens, March 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 pm with a matinee on March 12 at 2 pm, in the Austad Auditorium, Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $10/$7 through Dee Events Center Tickets, 1-800-WSU-TIKS or weberstatetickets.com

As part of an opera outreach program, Brookens is taking the cast to a number of pre-performance presentations to community organizations and several high schools: Roy (Feb 11), Northridge (Feb 18) and Box Elder (Feb 25). The WSU Opera program has enjoyed very good audiences for its semester opera scenes performances, as well as the full-length operas produced every other year. The popularity of Strauss’ musical farce is a guaranty for continued audience approval.

Synopsis of Die Fledermaus
Act I
Adele, Rosalinda’s stage-struck maid, wants to go to Prince Orlofsky’s ball. Rosalinda refuses to give Adele permission, since Rosalinda’s husband, Baron Eisenstein, is about to serve jail time for insulting an official. Eisenstein’s friend, Dr. Falke, persuades Eisenstein to go to the ball in order to gain some pleasant memories to keep him company in jail. Eisenstein doesn’t tell Rosalinda about his plans. Rosalinda’s life is also complicated by a singing teacher - and former lover - Alfred. He attempts to woe her again but is mistaken for her husband and is taken to jail.
Act II
Prince Orlofsky does not tolerate his guests looking bored, and insists everyone must drink with him. Eisenstein agrees too well. Rosalinda has been convinced by Dr. Falke to attend the ball disguised as a Hungarian countess and is wooed by her drunken husband. She steals his watch as proof of his philandering. At the end of the ball, Eisenstein staggers off for his appointment in jail.
Eisenstein is surprised to find his cell is already occupied by “Eisenstein(Allred).” He puts on a judges robe to obtain information from the imposter. Rosalinda arrives to get Alfred out of jail and press charges for a divorce. Eisenstein removes his disguise and accuses his wife of promiscuity. Rosalinda replies by showing him the watch he gave to “The Hungarian Countess.” Orlofsky and his guests arrive to celebrate the reconciliation of Rosalinda and Eisenstein. Falke explains the practical joke on Eisenstein. The entire cast sings a final toast as Eisenstein takes his place in jail.

Director's statement:
I've always wanted to direct “Die Fledermaus” at WSU, not only because I've personally performed the role of Adele, but also because I consider it to be one of the most popular and charming of all operetta literature. Due to the size of this opera, I knew a needed a wonderful group of singers to fill the ten roles that are featured plus a sizable chorus that sing a great deal in the second act of the opera. As director of the opera program, it's been exciting for me to see the music program grow to the point that I now have the voices to do this big and vocally challenging opera. I also adore this music! Set around Vienna in the mid 19th century, it features some of the most memorable and beautiful waltz music that audiences will be familiar with and will likely find themselves humming long after the opera is over.

The set designs for all three acts of the opera feature tremendous variety. We move from Rosalinda and her husband Gabriele von Eisenstein's house in Act I, to the ornate and lavish villa of Prince Orlofsky in Act II to a jail house in Act III ! Since the time period is set around 1830-40, the costumes are spectacular. Audiences will see simple designs, yet rich colors and fabrics with small bustles for the women for the ballroom scenes in Act II.

Fledermaus is also a classic comedy, a revenge against a prank that turns out to have humorous consequences. The phrase "what goes around comes around" is perfect for the basic plot of this opera. I love all of the characters in this opera. You have a house maid who longs for the acting stage, a prince who is "bored" and hopes to be amused again, and an Italian lover who leaps in and out of windows singing tenor opera arias. There's also the conflict of emotions that we see in the lead soprano, Rosalinda. Her situation and emotional responses remind all of us that love and marriage is certainly a complicated matter, one that is full of decisions, setbacks, humor, passion, and, of course - waltzing!

For more information about this opera, contact Dr. Karen Brookens, kbrookens@weber.edu.

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