The ever popular Carl Rosa Opera is set to perform Johann Strauss’s light-hearted, romantic, Viennese romp, Die Fledermaus at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 1st June to Saturday 6th June. Beautifully and imaginatively staged with exquisite period costumes from 1874 designs, this dazzling production bursts with Strauss’s gorgeous waltzes and infectious music, including the joyous ‘Laughing Song’ and the memorable chorus in praise of Champagne.
Centred on a high-society party where nothing is quite as it seems, the comical plot of this wickedly funny operetta combines seduction, revenge, disguise and mistaken identity. Die Fledermaus has been adapted for film and television many times, including the 1955 film Oh… Rosalinda!! starring Michael Redgrave and Anthony Quayle, and it remains one of the most often performed operettas today.
When Dr. Falke secretly persuades the eccentric Prince Orlofsky to throw a grand masked Ball, it is an event which everyone wants to attend. But the doctor’s hidden motive is revenge. He is furious with his ‘best friend’ Gabriel von Eisenstein for a humiliating prank he played the previous winter – leaving a drunken Falke dressed as a Bat in the town centre. Meanwhile, following another recent misdemeanour Eisenstein is facing a short prison stay, affording his wife, Rosalinda, some illicit time alone with her lover, Alfred. On receiving an invitation to Prince Orlofsky’s mysterious Ball, Eisenstein slips away to have fun; narrowly avoiding Colonel Frank, the Prison Governor on route to arrest him, he inadvertently paves the way for his wife’s lover to be apprehended in his place. As news of the lavish party spreads, Rosalinda, Frank and Eistenstein’s maid Adele, find they are all among the invited guests. Dressed in disguise and assuming false identities, they each arrive at Prince Orlofsky’s Ball where chaos soon ensues as romantic assignations go astray, elaborate plots unravel and the truth comes to light.
First performed in Vienna in 1874, Die Fledermaus – translated as The Bat – was an instant hit. Sung in the original German, Carl Rosa Opera’s staging uniquely places the Russian Prince Orlofsky at the centre of the story, and provides a witty English narration by the award-winning playwright, Ranjit Bolt, whose credits include productions for The Peter Hall Company, the RSC and the National Theatre.
Performed by Carl Rosa Opera’s superb cast, chorus and orchestra and directed by Peter Mulloy, the impressive company is led by Beverly Klein as Prince Orlofsky, who returns to Bath after playing Buttercup in Carl Rosa’s production of HMS Pinafore last year. She is joined by Steven Page, who performed the role of Captain Corcoran in 2014 at the Theatre Royal, and now plays the role of Colonel Frank, the Prison Governor in Die Fledermaus.
Carl Rosa Opera is a national institution. After many acclaimed productions in the West End, across the UK and internationally, they make a welcome return to Bath following previous successful visits with The Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus, which was last performed at the Theatre Royal in 2001. The company’s many previous productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous repertoire at the Theatre Royal Bath include The Gondoliers, Iolanthe, The Yeomen of the Guard; and most recently, The Pirates of Penzance in 2010, The Mikado in 2011 and HMS Pinafore in 2014.
Known for their large and accomplished casts and lavish staging, which remains true to original designs, Carl Rosa Opera is one of Britain’s oldest opera companies. Founded in 1873 by Carl Rosa after several successful years in America as the Parepa-Rosa English Opera Company, the Company has toured for more than 90 years. After the success of his London opera seasons in 1873 and 1874, the Carl Rosa season became an important annual event. Carl Rosa, who died in 1899, presented the first English productions of such famous continental works as Carmen, Mignon and Lohengrin in 1879 followed by Aida in 1880, and Manon and Mefistole in 1885. The Company gave the first English performance of La Boheme in front of Puccini in 1896.
Die Fledermaus appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 1st June to Saturday 6th June. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk