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Johann Strauss II – Die Fledermaus

Gabriel von Eisenstein – Charne Rochford
Rosalinda – Sarah Redgwick
Alfred – Garrie Davislim
Dr Falke – Simon Thorpe
Prince Orlofsky – Lise Christensen
Frank – Jeffrey Black
Adele – Ana James
Dr Blind – Nicky Spence


London Lyric Opera
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Philharmonia Chorus/Madeleine Lovell
Cadogan Hall, London 19 June 2009


From the moment Madeleine Lovell lifted her baton the Cadogan Hall audience was metaphorically waltzing along with the sweeping melodies and unrestrained joyfulness which is one of the hallmarks of Die Fledermaus.


The plot however is a lot more complicated than the music [qv. Alexa Woolf at Salzburg !] and it’s not entirely easy to put over in a semi-staged version with basic props and costumes, no scenery and only a small strip at the front of the platform for the cast to move about on.  A good translation by Leonard Hancock and David Pountney helped, especially as there were no surtitles, and the cast threw themselves wholeheartedly into the proceedings.


I particularly enjoyed the rivalry in the ball scene between Rosalinda (Sarah Redgwick) and her maid Adele (Ana James), two really impressive young sopranos.  As Eisenstein, Charne Rochford played the part with great gusto and a showed a good sense of comic timing, and of course Nicky Spence extracted every inch as the muddlesome lawyer.


Act II traditionally includes a guest celebrity making a cabaret appearance.  On this occasion Liszt specialist pianist, Leslie Howard, gave a rare performance of the Fantasie uber ungarische Volksmelodien, one of the few works that Liszt composed for piano and orchestra, which raised the loudest applause of the evening.


The scene shifted on to the prison and “The Bat” got his cheerful revenge, whilst the music came to an effervescent finale.


London Lyric Opera’s next productionwill be Der Freischutz in November.


Serena Fenwick