Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” was presented by ESU Opera Theater last Friday and Saturday night in Albert Taylor Hall. This English production of “Die Fledermaus” was produced by Penelope Speedie, associate professor and artistic director of Opera Theater.
“‘Die Fledermaus’ is a little more appealing to people who are not as familiar with opera,” said Daniel Zachary, who played Frosch, the jailer.
Junior vocal music major Masatoshi Takami, who played Dr. Falke, said this particular English translation is “very traditional.”
“We had rehearsals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. for the last two and a half months,” said Ethan Platt, freshman vocal music major, who played Frank. “The last week before the show we had dress rehearsals every night at 7 p.m.”
But “everything changed” when the group began rehearsing in Albert Taylor Hall, Zachary said.
“In the second act, half of the stage was removed. In a dress rehearsal, you have the feel of how it’s going to come together on production night,” he said. “There were a couple hectic moments in the last week.”
Along with the hectic moments, there were a lot of laughs between the cast.
“I nearly choked on my beard during one of the rehearsals,” Petersen said.
Judy Rice, volunteer, assisted with the costumes in the show. Rice works for the Emporia Community Theatre.
“There are a lot of non-music major and non-theater majors in the cast,” Zachary said. “That’s what made this a very fun experience.”
The first act is set in the apartment of Gabriel von Eisenstein, played by music major Justin Petersen, who has been “sentenced to eight days in prison for insulting an official, partially due to the incompetence of his lawyer, Dr. Blind.” Eisenstein’s maid, Adele, played by Takako Iyadomi, graduate music major, receives an invitation to a ball hosted by Prince Orlofsky, played Erin Gilmore.
However, what Adele doesn’t know is that the ball is a revenge plot perpetrated by Dr. Falke against Eisenstein, who had drunkenly left him in the center of town dressed as a bat after a costume party. Die Fledermaus is German for “The Bat.”
Eisenstein’s wife Rosalinda, played by Tomoka Hayasaka, graduate student in music, is visited by her secret lover, singing teacher Alfred, played by Mitchell Wright, senior music major, who serenades her with “Dove That Has Escaped.”
Frank, the governor of the prison, comes to arrest Eisenstein. Instead, he runs into Alfred, who pretends to be Eisenstein “in order not to compromise Rosalinda,” and is arrested by Frank.
The second act takes place in the prince’s ballroom. Eisenstein comes to the party under the name “Marquis Renard,” Frank goes as “Chevalier Chagrin,” Rosalinda pretends to be a Hungarian countess and Adele pretends she is an actress. After the prince welcomes all of his guests, an “amorous tête-à-tête” occurs between the disguised Rosalinda and Eisenstein, with Rosalinda stealing her husband’s valuable watch to use as evidence in his infidelity.
The final act is set the morning after the ball in Frank’s prison office. When Frank arrives at his office, he sees Frosch has used his alone time to get “gloriously drunk.” Frank, who is still intoxicated himself, deals with the events of last night’s events.
Rosalinda arrives, demanding a divorce from Eisenstein. Alfred, who had been arrested, demands to be released. Adele arrives to obtain the assistance of “Chevalier Chagrin.”
Frosch arrests Adele and her sister Sally, played by Amy Dunlap. Eisenstein turns the tables on his wife and tricks her, while she accuses him of infidelity. Dr. Falke appears and declares the events as “an act of vengeance for the ‘Fledermaus’.”
In the end, Eisenstein blames his behavior on the “intoxicating effects of champagne,” and Prince Orlofsky volunteers to support Adele’s newfound career in acting.