As energized as its famous Strauss-penned waltzes and as bubbly as its beloved king champagne, Opera San Jose's production of Die Fledermaus entertains with its farcical story and melodramatic acting. Though the creative choice to alternate between English dialogue and German lyrics is at first off-putting, mistaken identities and hilarious turns of event soon take audiences away to the "fantasy" world of a classic operetta.
A lovely backdrop sets the scene with fun silhouettes and newspaper excerpts that highlight key plot backgrounds. When the backdrop lifts, a gorgeous set of gold-gilded windows greets audiences, and while the frame remains throughout all three acts, various clever set pieces and attractive lighting make each scene unique. It's the early 1900s in Vienna, and Mr. Gabriel Eisenstein has been sentenced to spend eight days in prison. As he leaves to spend a secret last night on the town in disguise, his wife's lover from years ago appears to serenade the beautiful Rosalinde. As a mysterious hand arranges for all involved to attend a party at the palace of the Russian Prince Orlofsky, confusion and laughter are bound to follow.
Opera San Jose double cast the production, using several of its much-talented resident singers, which audiences familiar with the company will recognize, particularly James Callon, Alexander Boyer, Melody King and Cecilia Violetta Lopez from this year's "The Pearl Fishers." On November 17, Boyer sang the role of the smooth von Einstein while a strong Lopez played the part of Rosalinde. Elisabeth Russ displayed the best vocals of the night as the young and excited chambermaid, Adele, who dreams of becoming a famous actress. Rebecca Krouner impressed as the free and entertainment-driven prince. And Isaiah Musik-Ayala had some of the best comedic tidbits in the third act when his character, the head warden of a jail, returns to work drunk on champagne.
David Rohrbaugh conducted the fabulous orchestra, which glided over Strauss' memorable polkas and waltzes, while a nearly flawless cast dressed in Cathleen Edwards' beautiful costumes danced in front of Charlie Smith's grand sets. It's a visual spectacle enhanced by Strauss' catchy score and Marc Jacobs' amusing stage direction. The well-known opera is a staple in the holiday opera canon for good reason, and Opera San Jose's production continues the tradition with a wonderful treat for the holidays.
Tuesday, November 20 at 8 p.m.
Friday, November 23 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 25 ar 3 p.m.