A Cooksploratrice and the Producer Operetta Review: Die Fledermaus (The Bat)

Setting: Cooksploratrice kitchen
Menu: Pistachio Chocolate Cake from Chocolats Privilèges Bakery in Laval
Background noise: the Hum of the dishwasher
Date: Saturday, February 02, 2013

Moderator Question: Why see Die Fledermaus?

C: It’s a birthday gift. I’m really jazzed about it. An opera about vampires sounds perfect to me.

P: This operetta was about bats which made me think of vampires. Cooksploratrice loves vampires and the showing is the weekend of her birthday. I have been wanting to see an opera for a very long time and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

Moderator Question: Was it about vampires? 

P: (Laughs) No! It was not.

Moderator Question: Tell me about your exposure to the opera to date. 

C: I have seen the Phantom of the Opera, the Black Widow (an Italian opera.) I have not been to the opera in 20 years.

P: It will be my first opera. The closest we have come to seeing an Opera is Shen Yung (you’ve read the review here.)

Moderator Question: What is the difference between an Opera and an Operetta? 

P: Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre. Opera (English plural: operas; Italian plural: opere) is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (called a libretto) and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting.[1] Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble. (wikipedia was the source of this information)

C: Opera and Operetta is similar to theater and summer theater. Summer theater is much lighter and funny.

Moderator Question: Mr. Producer, how was your first operetta experience? 

P: I enjoyed it a great deal. At first, it was difficult to the ear when multiple signers were singing different things. There was an LCD screen displaying the lyrics which helped a great deal. After about 5 minutes, however, I was used to it and was able to sit back and relax and enjoy the show.

C: It was my first operetta. I had seen operas with sumptuous decors and tremendous showmanship. This was very different. It was funny and quite agreeable

Moderator Question: Tell me about the story.



Eisenstein’s apartment
Gabriel von Eisenstein has been sentenced to eight days in prison for insulting an official, partially due to the incompetence of his attorney, Dr. Blind. Adele, Eisenstein’s maid, receives a letter from her sister, who is in the company of the ballet, inviting her to Prince Orlofsky’s ball. She pretends the letter says that her aunt is very sick, and asks for a leave of absence (“My sister Ida writes to me”). Falke, Eisenstein’s friend, arrives to invite him to the ball (Duet: “Come with me to the souper”). Eisenstein bids farewell to Adele and his wife Rosalinde, pretending he is going to prison (Terzett: “Oh dear, oh dear, how sorry I am”) but really intending to postpone jail for one day and have fun at the ball.
After Eisenstein leaves, Rosalinde is visited by her lover, the singing teacher Alfred, who serenades her (“Dove that has escaped”). Frank, the governor of the prison, arrives to take Eisenstein to jail, and finds Alfred instead. In order not to compromise Rosalinde, Alfred agrees to pretend to be Eisenstein and to accompany Frank. (Finale, drinking song: “Happy is he who forgets” followed by Rosalinde’s defence when Frank arrives: “In tête-à-tête with me so late,” and Frank’s invitation: “My beautiful, large bird-cage.”)


A summer house in the Villa Orlovsky
It turns out that Falke, with Prince Orlofsky’s permission, is orchestrating the ball as a way of getting revenge on Eisenstein. The previous winter, Eisenstein had abandoned a drunken Falke dressed as a bat (and thus explaining the opera’s title) in the center of town, exposing him to ridicule the next day. As part of his scheme, Falke has invited Frank, Adele, and Rosalinde to the ball as well. Rosalinde pretends to be a Hungarian countess, Eisenstein goes by the name “Marquis Renard,” Frank is “Chevalier Chagrin,” and Adele pretends she is an actress.
The ball is in progress (Chorus: “A souper is before us”) and the Prince welcomes his guests (“I love to invite my friends”). Eisenstein is introduced to Adele, but is confused as to who she really is because of her striking resemblance to his maid. (“My lord marquis,” sometimes referred to as “Adele’s Laughing Song” or “The Laughing Song”).
Then Falke introduces the disguised Rosalinde to Eisenstein (Csárdás: “Sounds from home”). During an amorous tête-à-tête, she succeeds in extracting a valuable watch from her husband’s pocket, something which she can use in the future as evidence of his impropriety. (Watch duet: “My eyes will soon be dim”). In a rousing finale, the company celebrates (The Drinking song: “In the fire stream of the grape”; followed by the canon: “Brothers, brothers and sisters”; the polka “Unter Donner und Blitz”, and the waltz finale, “Ha, what joy, what a night of delight.”)


In the prison offices of Governor Frank
The next morning they all find themselves at the prison where the confusion increases and is compounded by the jailer, Frosch, who has profited by the absence of the prison director to become gloriously drunk.
Adele arrives to obtain the assistance of the Chevalier Chagrin (Melodrama; Couplet of Adele: “If I play the innocent peasant maid”) while Alfred wants nothing more than to get out of jail. Knowing of Eisenstein’s trickery, Rosalinde wants to begin an action for divorce, and Frank is still intoxicated.
Frosch locks up Adele and her sister Ida, and the height of the tumult arrives when Falke appears with all the guests of the ball and declares the whole thing is an act of vengeance for the “Fledermaus”. (Trio between Rosalinde, Eisenstein, Alfred: “A strange adventure”). Everything is amicably arranged (with Eisenstein blaming the intoxicating effects of champagne for his act of infidelity and Frank volunteering to support Adele’s artistic career), but Eisenstein is compelled to serve his full term in jail (Finale, “Oh bat, oh bat, at last let thy victim escape”). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Fledermaus

C: The story is switched up a bit as it takes place in Montreal in the 1930’s. Act 1 is in a bourgeois household, act 2, is in a villa in Westmount and act 3 is in a prison.

Moderator Question: Did you enjoy the modern Twist? 

P: Yes. They made some modern day references to Lino Zambito for example. They also danced Gangnam Style. I also liked the rendition of social classes (the majordomo, the chamber maid, the bourgeois wife, the jaded count Orlovsky)

C: I enjoyed the costumes of the 1930’s. I would have enjoyed the original decor of Vienna more but it would have made for a much more expensive production.

Moderator Question: Tell me about the pace.

C: Act 3 is super fast, Act 2 is all over the place and act 1 goes at a pretty clip pace. It was a bit uneven.

P: I agree though I enjoyed act 3 the most.

Moderator Question: What was your favorite moment in the operetta?

C: Martin Drainville as a drunk prison guard in act 3. There is also this lovely number called Gai Paris which is interpreted beautifully by Chantale Nurse.

P: When the truth finally comes out. When all the subterfuges are out in the open.

Moderator Question: Tell me about your favorite character. 

C: Doctor Falke. He is interpreted by Dominique Côté. He is a baryton.

P: Gabriel the husband. He is interpreted by Marc Hervieux. He is a tenor.


Moderator Question: Mr. Producer, we know how much you like music. What did you think of the orchestra?

P: Flawless execution of Joann Strauss’ works. Timothy Vernon, the conductor, led his orchestra quite gracefully. I intend on purchasing Johann Strauss’ works from iTunes and on getting more familiar with his works.

C: Excellent delivery by the orchestra. It’s music we know. We’ve heard it before. We did not know it was from Johann Strauss II, we did not know it was from The Bat but it was familiar. I wanted to waltz in a pretty dress. It was lively and made me feel quite giddish.

Moderator Question: What’s your overall appreciation of the choreography? 

P: Uninspired.

C: I would have wanted to see more dancing, especially in act 2. A few waltzes were nice but some of it felt reminiscent of vaudeville.

Moderator Question: What’s your overall appreciation of the singing? 

P: We are not opera buffs. I did not appreciate the delivery by Adèle as much (very Castafiorich). Adèle was interpreted by Marianne Lambert, Soprano.

C: I struggled when characters would sing different songs in parallel. Otherwise, I enjoyed it very much. I particularly appreciated Dominique Côté’s and Marc Herview’s voices. I typically prefer female singers but for Opera, I guess, I prefer the barytons and the tenors.

Moderator Question: What’s your overall appreciation of The Bat at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier?

C&P: We both give it a 4. We are unanimous in our grading of the show. We felt it was exactly like summer theater. Something light and airy.

Moderator Question: Which upcoming show would you like to see next?
C: Latin Dance. Maria Pages Compania: AUTORRETRATO. At la Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, April 04-06, 2013.

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