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Die Fledermaus, act I December 29, 2006

Posted by Jeff in Die Fledermaus, German, Musicals, Opera, Theater.

Who needs champagne on New Year’s Eve? I certainly don’t — I have this!

Opening credits, followed by Plácido Domingo conducting the overture:

Act I. Vienna, nineteenth century; the drawing room of the Eisenstein household.

An off-stage admirer sings of his passion for Rosalinde von Eisenstein (“Täubchen, das Entflattert ist”), but is scared off by her maid, Adele (Hildegarde Heichele). Adele reads a letter from her sister, inviting her to a fancy ball at Prince Orlofsky’s. Adele resolves to convince her mistress to let her have the evening off.

But Rosalinde (Kiri Te Kanawa) refuses to let her go, for tonight at midnight her husband begins a jail term for contempt of court. After Adele leaves in tears, Rosalinde’s admirer Alfred (Dennis O’Neill) appears. Rosalinde’s singing teacher and ex-lover, he sees his opportunity with her husband out of the way. When her husband approaches she shoves Alfred out a window.

Gabriel von Eisenstein (Hermann Prey) argues with his lawyer Dr. Blind (Paul Crook), whose incompetence has resulted in his term being increased from five days to eight. Rosalinde tries to comfort him, but Blind’s nattering just aggravates him further. Falke (Benjamin Luxon), an old friend, arrives, and tells Rosalinde he seeks revenge on Eisenstein.

Falke convinces Eisenstein to sneak away from his wife and attend Orlovsky’s party with him on his last night of freedom. Falke secretly tells Rosalinde to attend the same party in disguise. She tells Adele she can gave the have the rest of the night off.

The Eisensteins bid each other a tearful farewell, accompanied by Adele, although the three are actually eager to separately escape to the ball (“So muß allein ich bleiben”). After Eisenstein and Adele depart, Rosalinde determines to bring Alfred with her to the ball to offset her husband’s infidelity.

Dressed in Eisenstein’s jacket, Alfred drinks and sings to Rosalinde (“Trinke, liebchen, trinke schnell”), delaying their departure.

Frank (Michael Langdon), the prison governor, arrives seeking his prisoner. Alfred can’t stop singing, and Frank assumes the drunken tenor is Rosalinde’s husband.

Rosalinde convinces Alfred to go along with Frank’s misunderstanding of the situation, and go to jail in her husband’s place. When Frank expects Alfred to give his “wife” a goodbye kiss, Alfred eagerly agrees.

Frank invites Alfred to accompany him to prison (“Mein schönes, großes vogelhaus”), after which he expects to attend the Orlovsky ball. Rosalinde manages to bid her “husband” farewell without actually kissing him, and the men depart.

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