Hudson Opera Theatre delivers a rousing ‘Die Fledermaus’
By James F. Cotter
For the Times Herald-Record
Posted Jun. 21, 2016 at 10:16 AM
Hudson Opera Theatre, directed by Ron De Fesi, presented two performances of “Die Fledermaus” (“The Bat”) by Johann Strauss II this past weekend at the parish hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Monroe. First staged in Vienna in 1874, the operetta remains one of the Waltz King’s favorite works with its own waltz, “Ha, what joy! What a night of delight!” climaxing its uproarious second act. De Fesi directed his cast of 10, chorus of 24 and orchestra of 12 with joy and delight on Saturday evening. Singing in English, the principals were splendid in voice and acting ability; the singing and dancing, the orchestration proved to be highly entertaining and enjoyable.
Adele (Jeanai La Vita) gets an invitation to a ball and, in order to attend, pretends that her aunt has died. Rosalinda (Charlotte Detrick) is reluctant to grant permission and her husband Eisenstein (Justin Scott Randolph), who is due to spend eight days in jail for insulting an official, agrees. The two sopranos and tenor join in a trio of mock grief, “Oh, how sorry I am.” Dr. Falke (baritone C. David Morrow) shows up with separate invitations to Eisenstein and Rosalinda for the masquerade where he plans to take revenge on Eisenstein for leaving him drunk on a park bench dressed as a bat. When Rosalinda’s former lover Alfred (Kevin Courtmanche) comes to woo her, she has him take Eisenstein’s place by going to jail. His tenor aria, “Happy is he who forgets,” laced with lines from Italian opera, is the first of the drinking songs that flow through the farce. When Frank (Zack Rabin), the warden, comes to make his arrest, the baritone and tenor join in a duet, and then a trio with Rosalinda.
Act two is at the ball where Prince Orlofsky (mezzo Ema Mitrovic posing as a man) greets his guests with an aria, “I love to invite my friends.” Adele, pretending to be an actor, fascinates the prince with her vivacious class act. Eisenstein thinks he recognizes her, but she responds with her “Laughing Song” in ridicule. Rosalinda, masked so that her husband does not recognize her, steals his watch when he tries to seduce her. After waltzing and celebrating with a vibrant polka danced by chorister Gladys Calzada, the inebriated crowd heads home.
For act three, next day they congregate at the jail, which Alfred is anxious to leave and where Adele and her sister Ida (Denise Schneider) are put in a cell by the confused jailer Frosch (Austin-Michael Komatz). Adele sings an engaging “I play the innocent peasant maid” to argue her case. Eisenstein changes clothes with his inept lawyer Dr. Blind (Mike Kolb) and confronts his wife and Alfred with charges of infidelity. She shows him his watch and makes the same charge against him. The three join in a rousing trio, “A Strange Adventure,” and all sum up the story with a drinking song finale, “Die Fledermaus,” led by Falke still in his bat costume.
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