Baylor Opera Theater’s production of Johann Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus” will debut tonight in the Jesse H. Jones Theatre at 7:30 pm and will play at the same time every night until Saturday. Tickets are available on the Baylor Theater Department’s webpage. They are priced $15 for the general public and $10 for Baylor students.
“Die Fledermaus,” translated into English as “The Bat,” is a German farce written by Austrian composer Johann Strauss. This production will feature students from the school of music’s vocal division accompanied by the Baylor Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will be conducted by Assistant Professor Jeffrey Peterson. The opera is directed by Assistant Professor Octavio Cárdenas.
“Die Fledermaus” takes place on New Year’s Eve. It follows the main character Eisenstein as he tries to avoid his prison sentence, determined instead to attend the city’s most anticipated party. The entire cast of vibrant characters is drawn into the mayhem he creates around him. “Die Fledermaus” is a farce, allowing the audience to watch as everything imaginable goes awry, not only through the musical numbers, but through the humorous conversations between characters.
“It’s a challenge for opera actors to simulate emotion in the dialogue,” said Topeka, Kan. graduate student Brendan Boyle, who stars in the role of Dr. Falke and is working toward his master’s in performance studies. “It puts the opera more in the musical theater range.”
Although songs will be performed in German, subtitles and conversation will be in a spoken English that is far from the dramatic style of a typical period opera piece.
“The humor and spoken dialogue make [‘Die Fledermaus’] different,” said Waco graduate student Jennalee Brummel, who will play the role of the maid Adele and is working toward her master’s in performance studies. “It’s hilarious and lots of fun to do.”
To match its unique style, the set and costume design of “Die Fledermaus” are also very different from previous Baylor Opera Theatre productions like last year’s “Elixir of Love.”
“The most prominent difference of ‘Die Fledermaus’ is the look of it. For ‘Elixir of Love,’ we based the story in the 1970s,” said Colfax, Wash. senior Lindsay Webber, who plays the role of Ida. “This one is set in the time period that it was written, and we get to wear all the typical opera costumes.”
Humor and chaos are a large part of this innovative Baylor Opera production, setting it apart from the stereotypical opera piece with an absurd style of silliness.
“It’s a fun show in general with simple characters,” said Boyle. “It’s easy to follow and fun to laugh at!”