*Waltz King Johann Strauss’ most popular operetta, filled with familiar songs and waltzes;
*Sumptuous production by London’s Royal Opera Covent Garden;
*Evocative of the glittering opulence of Vienna’s Belle Epoque;
*”A Summit of Escapism” – Daily Telegraph;
*Free admission and holiday treats.
Known as the “Champagne Operetta”, Die Fledermaus is the most brilliant and popular of any written by the Waltz King, Johann Strauss. Major opera companies around the world frequently use it as their holiday presentation, and symphony orchestras do likewise with its overture.
This lavish production was filmed for the BBC at a live performance on New Year’s Eve at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in London. Its international cast includes Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Hermann Prey, with Placido Domingo in the surprising role of conductor. According to the Daily Mail, “Under (Domingo), Strauss’s zestful, tuneful comedy fizzes along like musical champagne.”
The score is filled with familiar waltzes, polkas and gavottes, and the scenic design re-creates all the style and opulence of the Viennese Belle Epoque. The Daily Telegraph hailed it as “a summit of escapism!”
A major part of the operetta occurs at Prince Orlofsky’s masked ball, at which gaiety and champagne consumption is exceeded only by delightful confusion and mis-adventure. The Prince’s special gala performance party includes some surprise guests, including Hinge and Bracket, Charles Aznavour, and the stars of the Royal Ballet, Merle Park and Wayne Eagling, performing a pas de deux especially choreographed for the occasion by Sir Frederick Ashton.
Die Fledermaus was completed in 1874. Strauss was in his late forties, the darling of Vienna for his celebrated waltzes. The operetta was his third attempt to compose a successful stage work. Cutting himself off from the world, he completed the whole score in 43 days – a score of which nearly every bar is memorable and stamped with his own personality. With Die Fledermaus, Strauss seems to have captured for us Vienna — an ideal, laughing Vienna — and preserved it, living, in his music. This is the city as it liked to be in the third quarter of the nineteenth century.