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Die Fledermaus, act III January 1, 2007

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

Plácido DomingoThis 1984 Covent Garden production marked Plácido Domingo‘s conducting debut. Not very many world-class opera singers ever go on to do anything else but sing, but lately he conducts and runs opera houses more than he performs. A smart transition for his career and his voice.

His sixty-fifth birthday is on January 21; at an age when most of his contemporaries are either retired or should be, he still sings brilliantly.

Act III. The Vienna jail.

The orchestra performs the entr’acte.

Frosch (Josef Meinrad), the drunken jailer, suffers from the offstage singing of his prisoner, Alfred.

Okay, time for a little brutal honesty. I have seen Fledermaus three times in theaters, and on two of those occasions I left after the second act with no regrets. Nine minutes into the following clip is one of only two gags in the third act of this production that actually made me laugh. This is a better production than the ones I walked out of, but not that much better — the rest of the clip is painful.

If you’re still reading this summary because the plot of Fledermaus fascinates you, you really need to get out more. It’s all about the music … and there’s still more than enough of that to be had.

A nice aria from Hildegarde Heichele as Adele.

There was a wonderful 1972 film of The Barber of Seville with Hermann Prey (1929-1998) in the title role. He was great as Figaro, Papageno, Beckmesser and in several of the EMI-recoded operettas from the 1960s. With the right director and material (i.e. something better than the book of Fledermaus), I think he’s one of the best comic opera performer/singers I’ve ever heard (along with Nicolai Gedda, Anneliese Rothenberger and Beverly Sills.)

Eyes open for another funny at 5:30.

But Rosalinde has already met Blind in the first act, plus she presumably knows how tall her husband is … Oh, why am I even bothering? I love this trio!

I like the third-act set segueing to the second, and Falke showing up in the bat costume. And has any opera ever ended with such glorious music?

Ovations and final credits. A Happy New Year to all!

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