Die Fledermaus romps through Nashville,

By Joseph E. Morgan

 

In the Nashville Opera’s current production of Johann Strauss II’s operetta Die Fledermaus , Stage

Director John Hoomes has embraced the work’s origins in French vaudeville by leading a clever romp

through the Viennese glitz while wearing cowboy boots. That is to say, the production includes all the

traditional and glamourous music and scenes–the waltzes, the Champagne chorus, the Viennese Ball,

but the drama is also littered with eclectic humor and references that one would only hear (and

understand) in Nashville—Willie Nelson (“Crazy”), Elvis (“Thank you, thank you very much!”) and

banjos—even Bart Durham Esquire gets mention.

 

And Hoomes’s stage is full of actors with wonderful voices. Soprano Lindsay Russell as Adele is

downright hilarious as the rambunctiously cheeky maidservant. Her enchanting “Laughing Aria” brought

out the light, authentic and effortless character of her instrument. Similarly, Richard Troxell’s amorous

Alfredo was just as mischievous as a stylized Italian tenor. As part of his schtick, he managed excellent

quotes from masterworks of Italianate Opera, especially the big note on “Vincerò!” from “Nessun

Dorma” in Puccini’s Turandot—great comedy for the opera lovers in the audience.

 

The Primos, soprano Carla Thelen Hanson as Rosalinde and baritone Corey McKern as Eisenstein, are

well cast both in character and voice. In the second act “Watch Duet,” Hanson’s plushy velvet voice

went with McKern’s crisp baritone like Chambord and champagne. Even Brian Russell’s second act

standup routine was hilarious. The orchestra, slide whistles and all, is performing very well under Dean

Williamson’s direction. His nimble and stylish interpretation revealed that his relationship with the

Nashville Opera Orchestra just reaches greater heights with every production.

 

In all, Strauss’s Operetta is not heavy fare. It contains no dramatic deaths, no overt political statements

or grandiose sentiments of existential angst. What it does do is offer a wonderful escape from all that,

and if you are looking for something fun to do Saturday Night, this is the ticket.

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