Die Fledermaus

Opera, ballet, dance

Die Fledermaus

Komische Oper Berlin: Die Fledermaus – © Monika Rittershaus
Komische Oper Berlin: Die Fledermaus – © Monika Rittershaus

Operetta comique in three acts by Johann Strauß (1874)

Debut performance 1874 - Premiere on 23 September 2007

Stefan Soltesz, the Austrian conductor of Hungarian origin who has for many years been General Musical Director of the Essen Philharmonic and General Artistic Director of the Aalto Theatre, conducts this operetta of operettas, this masterpiece by the king of the waltz. It is a work of wit and high jinks, full of enchanting melodies which, once heard, can never be forgotten. Nobody here is who he claims to be, nobody does what he is pretending to do, and nobody loves the person he is supposed to – and champagne is to blame for the whole thing! But of course it’s impossible to get angry with champagne for long...
“A hilarious evening: you find yourself laughing from the bottom of your heart at the carefree antics onstage, and at yourself.” [TAZ]
Plot The Bat

Synopsis ...

Previous events
Some years ago, Gabriel von Eisenstein has played a joke on his friend Dr. Falke: When they attended together a fancy dress party – Eisenstein disguised as a butterfly, Falke dressed as a bat – Eisenstein has inebriated his friend and on their way home, he has left him sleeping under a bosquet. The next morning, Falke had to go home in his absurd costume being the laughing-stock of people. Since then, Falke is called Dr. Bat, and seeks for revenge...

First Act
Adele, the Eisensteins' parlour maid, has received an invitation to Prince Orlofsky's ball by her sister Ida. Adele invents a story about her sick Aunt in order to persuade her mistress Rosalinde to free her this evening from work. But Rosalinde refuses point-blank: As her husband will be arrested this evening, she cannot stay alone. However, shortly after, the situation changes: Rosalinde arranges a date with her ex-lover and suddenly wants to get rid of the maid, allowing her to take the free evening.
Eisenstein's advocate has acted so inexpertly at court, that the sentence for arrest has even been prolonged. However, the furious Eisenstein calms down, when his friend Dr. Falke unfolds a brilliant plan: Instead of being behind bars, he shall spend this evening at Prince Orlofsky's ball. Tearfully husband and wife make their farewells.
The love affair between Rosalinde and her tenor takes its course. Alfred is so keen on taking up the role of the landlord, that he even slips into Eisenstein's night-gown, a fatal decision. When the prison warden Frank appears to lag the belated delinquent, Alfred has no choice but to play the legitimate husband so that Rosalinde isn't compromised. For this, he agrees to be placed under arrest.

Second act
Adele appears at the pretended ball of the supposed prince. Her sister, who doesn't know anything of the invitation letter, decides to introduce her as an artist. Anyway, the maid looks in the dress of her mistress quite presentable.
Eisenstein is presented to the Russian prince, who gives him a quite rude introduction into the costumes of Russian aristocracy.
The situation escalates, when Eisenstein seems to recognise among the guests his chamber maid in the dress of his wife – an impertinence, which is noticed indignantly by the select society.
The next guest to arrive is a Chevalier Chargrin. The encounter with the »compatriot« puts Eisenstein to great inconvenience, but the two French get halfway out of the affair.
Dr. Falke announces a mysterious visitor: A lady of the highest aristocratic circles, a Hungarian countess, who has to comply to »certain deferences« and therefore appears masked.
Eisenstein courts fervently the passionate lady and in doing so loses his watch.

While the party reaches its peak in an tipsy atmosphere of fraternisation and champagne, Eisenstein tries to reveal the new owner of his watch, but unmasking is strictly refused. When the bells strike six o'clock in the morning, Eisenstein and the prison warden leave the party in a great hurry.

Third act
After a boozy night, the prison warden is battered and the custodian Frosch gives him a hard time with his insatiable passion for slivovitz .
Indeed, he won't be able to find any peace of mind that soon. Meanwhile, Adele and her sister arrive. Adele reveals herself as Eisenstein's chamber maid and asks the pretended Chevalier, to put in a good word for her to Rosalinde: Her mistress may give her the dress, for the intended career as actress.
Shortly after, Eisenstein finally shows up to be arrested. He and the prison warden disclose their identity, and Eisenstein notices with surprise that he is already under arrest. Eisenstein bodes ill and immediately wants to know whom they jailed under his name, whom they met in his house tête-à-tête with his wife the night before. Thus, he wrests robe and wig from the notary, who was called to Alfred's defence, and poses as advocate.
In the meantime, Rosalinde has arrived to rescue her arrested tenor. Eisenstein's suspicion proves true, while he listens to their story: Rosalinde has taken the liberty of an escapade! In that moment, she takes Eisenstein's watch from her bag and convicts Eisenstein of the same error.
When the marital quarrel reaches its flash point, the whole ball society comes in, and Dr. Falke clears things up. Nothing stands in the way of conciliation, as Alfred's visit is described as well as integral part of the intrigue. Eisenstein is overjoyed: Nothing has happened, it was all just a game, nobody is disgraced. The champagne is blamed for all the turbulences, and so everything may not be in the best but at least in the former order.; Operetta comique in three acts by Johann Strauß (1874)
Libretto by Richard Genée and Karl Haffner

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