Skip to main content

Review: Die Fledermaus at the Met


Review: Die Fledermaus at the Met



<em>Die Fledermaus</em> © Ken Howard | Metropolitan Opera

A wave of trepidation slowly overcame the audience of the Met's December 4th performance of Die Fledermaus, as people opened their playbills and read the insert that said Mireille Asselin would be on for Lucy Crowe, who was ill, in the pivotal role of Adele. Fortunately, the immensely charming Asselin displayed no signs of nervousness at having to command the gargantuan Met stage. She has a beautiful voice that suits Adele nicely.  It should be noted that a cover being a highlight of the evening is not unlike a chambermaid becoming the sensation of the New Year's Eve party at the center of the story.



Jeremy Sams' production of  Johann Strauss Jr's classic operetta bursts with an energy appropriate for the joyous music played expertly by the Met orchestra. Susanna Phillips, who sang the role of Rosalinde, has a lovely singing voice, but her delivery of lines of dialogue left something to be desired. Christopher Fitzgerald gets a lot of laughs as Frosch the jailer, even if his third act scene drags on for too long. Paulo Szot made for a strong Doctor Falke, and the hammy Dimitri Pittas did not disappoint as Alfred. Toby Spence was fine as Eisenstein. Susan Graham's Orlofsky unfortunately was a bit a of let down.

The sets and costumes by Robert Jones use rich colors to create a sumptuous visual representation of 1899 Vienna, reminiscent of a Klimt painting. Conductor James Levine has the orchestra playing with an energetic vitality. The revised libretto by Douglas Carter Beane was the weakest part of the production, rushing through most of the action and  lingering on the comedic bits. This is not entirely unsurprising, as this is the same Douglas Carter Beane responsible for the perplexing book to the 2013 Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, bizarre political subplots and all. The translation of the lyrics to English are not always as smooth as one would hope, as awkward phrases occasionally inhibit the inherent giddiness of the music.

While the evening as a whole was enormously enjoyable,  a tighter libretto would undoubtably elevate this innuendo-laden farce to a operetta on par with Strauss' unabashedly blissful music. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Death on the Nile" Hits Theaters in 2019: Here's my Dream Cast

Following the success of Kenneth Branagh's film of Murder on the Orient Express, it was announced that a follow-up would be released on December 20, 2019. This time Branagh will direct and star in an adaptation of Christie's 1937 novel Death on the Nile. I loved that novel when I read it many years ago, and although I'd prefer to see Branagh adapt a Poirot novel that has not already gotten the big-screen treatment (like Death in the Clouds or Cards on the Table), I am looking forward to seeing a new interpretation. It's about a murder that occurs on a luxury steamer that is traveling down the Nile River in Egypt. Naturally, all the passengers are suspects. Since no casting information aside from Branagh has been announced, I thought I'd share some of my dream casting choices. 

For the role of Simon Doyle - Dan Stevens The former Dowton Abbey star is no stranger to period pieces and would be perfect fit for Simon Doyle, the new husband of Linnet Ridgeway and ex-finace…

"A Simple Favor" is an Offbeat Little Thriller that Adeptly Wields the Talents of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively: Review

Film Review: A Simple Favor There's a sub-genre that Hollywood has brought back in the aftermath of the massive success of David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl a few years back; the domestic thriller, usually based on a best-selling novel and usually starring a woman. Other entrants in the genre include The Girl on the Train, the upcoming The Woman in the Window, and Paul Feig's new movie A Simple Favor. I am a huge proponent of the domestic thriller, as I love twisty and often fun mysteries that also have room for some social satire. With a script by Jessica Sharzer adapted from the Darcey Bell novel, A Simple Favor offers up everything I love about the genre in exciting and unexpected new ways. 
The movie stars Blake Lively as a gorgeous, sophisticated, and deeply unhappy mother who befriends a put-together mommy vlogger (Anna Kendrick), who plays detective when Lively's character suddenly disappears.Although it shares many similarities with Gone Girl,A Simple Favo…

Oscars: My Response to the Newly Announced Academy Award Changes

The Oscars are losing relevance or so says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which announced Wednesday a batch of changes to its annual telecast. The changes, designed to reverse a ratings dip in recent years, are the kind of desperate attempt to stay relevant that threatens the integrity of the whole affair. 

The first change, consistent with the Academy's desire to create a three-hour telecast, is that some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited (meaning condensed) versions of the acceptance speeches airing later in the broadcast. It has not been determined which categories will be bumped, but I'll tell you right now it ain't gonna be Best Actress. The categories where celebrities are nominated will be shown live, and the tech categories won't be. This move is flat-out disrespectful to the men and women nominated in the below-the-line categories who deserve recognition for their vital contributions to movies. The Tony Awards fo…