11/12/2012 - 15/12/2012
Popular opera onstage in Newmarket
A glittering fringe production of Johann Strauss’s popular comic operetta Die Fledermaus (The revenge of the Bat) will be onstage at the Factory Theatre in the heart of Newmarket from 11th to 15th December. From the sparkling overture to a rollicking tribute to the champagne finale, the Waltz King’s madcap masterpiece is the bubbling jewel of the golden age of operetta and is suitable and accessible to all ages.
Strauss’s Die Fledermaus is a delicious farce of revenge, mistaken identities, flirtations, and light-hearted deceit and is the perfect combination of comedy, effervescent melodies and charming sentiment. This famous operetta is traditional festive fare and offers an appropriate end of year celebration for opera, music and theatre enthusiast in an accessible and affordable location.
Directed by Linda Kitchen with Music Director Rosemary Barnes the cast stars well known soprano Emma Sloman as Rosalinda joined by tenors Cameron Barclay (Alfred) and Aidan Gill (Gabriel von Eisenstein) with talented coloraturas Elizabeth Mandeno and Ella Smith sharing the capricious role of Adele the maid. The plot thickens with baritone Adam Thompson as the revengeful Dr Falke aided by mezzo Christie Cook as Prince Orlofsky along with Dragan Atanasov as Frank the confused prison warden and Alex Milligan as Dr Blind the bumbling lawyer with Jess Graham/Leila Alexander sharing the role of Ida. New talent Milla Dickens covering Rosalinda and Elisabeth Harris covering Orlovsky will debut for the 6.30pm Thursday and 2pm Saturday performances. ‘Die Fledermaus’ will be fully staged with stage design by John Eaglen, lighting by Phillip Dexter, costumes by Kat Wells.
This Christmas Gala season of Die Fledermaus celebrates the end of another busy year for the Opera Factory Trust and funds raised will support the 2013 programme of education, training and performance opportunities.
Die Fledermaus is suitable for all ages and early reservations are highly recommended. For an innovative way to host company staff, members or associates this production offers excellent group concessions for 6 or more, or by special arrangement the capacity house of 135 seats may be available. The Factory Theatre is easily accessible and situated at 7 Eden Street Newmarket and near to public car-parks and public rail and bus links.
Die Fledermaus – Christmas Gala season
Opera Factory Theatre, 7 Eden Street, Newmarket
11th – 15th December
Tuesday/Wed/Frid & Sat at 7.30pm
Thursday at 6.30pm + 2pm Saturday matinee.
Online: www.iticket.co.nz or Ph 09 361 1000 (booking fees apply)
Ticket prices: $35-$45 (senior/group/student/children concessions available)
Emma Sloman as Rosalinda
Cameron Barclay as Alfred
Aidan Gill as Gabriel von Eisenstein
Elizabeth Mandeno / Ella Smith sharing Adele
Adam Thompson as Dr Falke
Christie Cook as Prince Orlofsky
Dragan Atanasov as Frank
Alex Milligan as Dr Blind
Jess Graham / Leila Alexander sharing Ida.
Milla Dickens covering Rosalinda
Elisabeth Harris covering Orlovsky
for the 6.30pm Thursday and 2pm Saturday performances.
Stage design by John Eaglen
Lighting by Phillip Dexter
Costumes by Kat Wells
A sight and sound to behold
Review by Penny Dodd 12th Dec 2012
The word “sparkle” came quickly to mind as the opening night audience settled in to the first act of Johann Strauss’s famous operetta, premiered in Vienna in 1874. This production glitters and glows as it delivers a fast paced, thoroughly enjoyable evening of delightful nineteenth century musical entertainment.
The indefatigable Rosie Barnes at the piano rips through the overture in spirited fashion, the lights dim on the gorgeous box set complete with chaise lounge, candelabra, and potted plants, and the fun and games begin.
The plot is complicated, but not so complicated you can’t follow it thanks to Linda Kitchen’s clear direction. And it is performed in English. The characters are delicious and larger than life, encouraged in their antics by subtle bits of updating in the script, and a lively physical style of acting.
We have the feisty maid Adele, performed by Ella Smith on this occasion, (alternating with Elizabeth Mandeno). Her “Mein Herr Marquis” was a pure delight, so very enjoyable in the context of the story. Emma Sloman (alternating with Milla Dickens) gives us a Rosalinda who should know better, but goes along with the game to deliver a fabulous mock-Hungarian Czardas in Act 2.
Alfred, a tenor – Cameron Barclay – amuses greatly with his suitably excessive tenor temperament, and a fun game of ‘spot the operatic reference’ (Verdi, Puccini, etc) as he swooped and swooned through the piece. He did seem to spend an inordinate amount of time hanging from the window sill; I was somewhat distracted throughout the scene wondering if Eisenstein would discover him.
Eisenstein is played and sung with much aplomb by Aidan Gill. He has a certain cavalier quality of the prankster getting his just – or perhaps unjust – rewards. This is a decadent society, where the trivial pursuits of the ruling classes become the imperatives. And what better example of this than the dubious, ambiguous, dark and dangerous Prince Orlovsky, finely characterised by Christie Cook (alternating with Elisabeth Harris).
Orlovsky is bored, Orlovsky throws parties and needs to be entertained by the manipulation of the people around him/her. Christie has a most commanding voice, and the carriage of a person who is accustomed to power. The lighting for ‘Chacun a Son Gout’, (Phil Dexter) with dense colours and heightened shadows seemed to reflect this. (So I was a little puzzled when the same lighting state was used in subsequent scenes.)
The story rests on Dr Falke who, having been pranked by Eisenstein, was abandoned on a park bench after a riotous night out, dressed in a bat costume. Hence “The revenge of the bat”. Falke gets his own back on Eisenstein, but it’s not quite that simple, and it involves mistaken identities, changes of splendid clothes and lashings of sparkling champagne.
Dr Falke, admirably played by Adam Thompson, is a vital part of the storytelling, as is Frank the Prison Warden, played by Dragan Atanasov.
The chorus looks beautiful and sings with lovely clarity and style.
Congratulations to the costume team for their miraculous work, a full company of twenty odd in the small space of the Opera Factory is a sight and sound to behold. Rosemary Barnes on piano and synth accompanies with a fabulous variety of tone, and sensitivity to the singers, and great timing – comic and otherwise.
The evening, living up to its subtitle as a Christmas gala, is rounded off by a cast and audience rendition of three traditional Christmas carols. Opening night was attended by some particularly talented individuals, including a soprano contingent who supplied impressive descants. It was a most enjoyable experience, being part of a jolly good singalong with some of the finest voices in the city.
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