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

Netflix vs. HBO Max vs. Disney+ vs. Hulu: Streaming Services Ranked

The entertainment industry is at a moment of change. Resources that were once spent on TV networks and theatrical releases are being funneled into streaming services, as media conglomerates race to catch up with game-changing, industry-revolutionizing Netflix. The "streaming wars", the competition between the studios to sure up talent and content deals as they ask audiences to buy their monthly subscriptions, is in full swing. 
One day, a book will be written about the streaming wars and it'll include a clear picture of which services crashed and burned and which ones emerged victorious. I look forward to reading that book and looking back on this moment in time with hindsight, but until that day, all I can do is offer my opinion on each service and say which ones I feel are worthy of your money and time. I'm only going to talk about the services that are directly vying to be the new Netflix, not niche ones like Shudder or the Criterion Channel. Also, a proper ranking…

The Ten Best Songs By Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim's 10 Best Songs 
Today, March 22, is Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday. In celebration, I thought I would rank the ten best songs with music and lyrics by the greatest musical theater composer there is.

Honorable mentions: "Send in the Clowns," "Not Getting Married," "Sooner or Later," "Loving You," "Ladies Who Lunch," "I Never Do Anything Twice," "The Glamorous Life,""Could I Leave You?," "Putting It Together," "A Weekend in the Country," "Isn't He Something?," "Finishing the Hat"

10. "Too Many Mornings" How much time can we hope that here will be? Not much time, but it's time enough for me. If there's time to look up and see Sally standing at the door, Sally moving to the bed, Sally resting in my arms, with your head against my head.
A beautiful, very sad duet from Follies, where two characters confess their long-held mutual …

"Trophy Wife" is the Best New Show of the Season

"Trophy Wife" is the Best New Show of the Season

"Trophy Wife" is an example of an excellent series, with an unfortunate title. When the show premiered back in September, I was not planning on watching. But after reading some reviews, I decided to give it a try. And am I glad I did.