Wednesday, February 9, 2011

REVIEW: Die Fledermaus (Dresden) at the Semperoper Dresden

Semperoper Dresden (Dresden), Wednesday February 2

Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus at the Semperoper was a total delight rich in fuzz and fizz!

While in Berlin, I took a two-hour train to Dresden, not only to see the opera, but also to see the opera house. The building was originally built in 1841 by architect Gottfried Semper. The building was destroyed by fire in 1869, but was reconstructed by Manfred Semper (son of Gottfried, as Gottfried was in exile) based on his father’s plan upon the demand of the Dresden citizenry. The building is considered to be a prime example of “Dresden-Baroque” architecture. Before the war, the building premiered a lot of Richard Strauss’ work. The building was destroyed again in World War II. Exactly after 40 years later, on February 13 1985, the opera was rebuilt to almost its original design before the war and also re-opened with same opera that was performed before its destruction – Weber’s Der Freischutz.

The strength of this Die Fledermaus production lies on its staging (by Günter Krämer). At the center of the concept is a red velvet two-seater chesterfield. It was almost as if the chesterfield represented the state, quality and magnitude of pleasure that was happening on the stage. In Act I, a chesterfield was presented at first. While the operetta started to reveal complex relationships, more chesterfields were presented. By Act II at the ball, a gigantic chesterfield was presented, and when I say gigantic, it was really gigantic. There were about 45 people draped on this chesterfield. However, by Act III at the prison office, a chesterfield stripped to its skeletal structure was presented. The effect was a visual delight and most importantly, the chesterfields were integrated seamlessly to the story.

The cast was also a pleasure to witness. They were relaxed and looked like they were having a great time on stage. Hans-Joachim Ketelsen’s Gabriel von Eisenstein was a lovable naughty womanizer who showed that he can move. Adriane Queiroz’s Rosalinde was a voluptuous mature lady whose high notes were as exciting as her amorous plan. Wolfgang Stumph as Frosch seemed to be very funny in his solo long (German) spiel in Act III, either that or the audience was very polite. Manfred Mayrhofer drew a frothy and bewitching performance from the Staatskapelle Dresden.
Die Fledermaus
Lyrical comedy in three acts by Richard Strauss. In German language.

Creative Team:
Musical Director: Manfred Mayrhofer
Staging: Günter Krämer
Set Design: Gisbert Jäkel
Costume Design: Falk Bauer
Lighting Design: Jan Seeger
Choreography: Otto Pichler
Choir: Christof Bauer

Gabriel von Eisenstein: Hans-Joachim Ketelsen
Rosalinde: Adriane Queiroz
Frank: Michael Eder
Prinz Orlofsky: Barbara Senator
Alfred: Andrej Dunaev
Dr. Falke: Christoph Pohl
Dr. Blind: Gerald Hupach
Adele: Arantza Ezenarro
Ida: Andrea Schubert
Frosch: Wolfgang Stumph

Saxon State Opera Choir
Staatskapelle Dresden

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