Opera in the valley
The Western Opera Theater brings Die Fledermaus to Hailey
By ADAM TANOUS
Express Staff Writer
Believe it or not, professional opera is about to descend upon the Wood
River Valley. Yes, opera. We have a top-rate writers conference, summer symphony,
art galleries, and film festivals. Why not opera? That was precisely the attitude of the
organizers of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony when they arranged for the Western Opera
Theater to bring its production of Johann Strauss Jr.s Die Fledermaus to Wood
River High School tomorrow night.
The free performance is part of a 15-state, nationwide tour that the
Western Opera Theater, the professional touring company of the San Francisco Opera, is
conducting through Nov. 12. The fully staged and costumed production features an
international cast. Die Fledermaus will be sung in English with English
supertitles. The show is directed by Josemaria Condemi. Mark Morash and Steven Osgood are
Since its April 5, 1874 premiere in Vienna, Die Fledermaus has
been a popular comedy operetta with lively dance music. It is the story of Eisenstein, a
bourgeois citizen, who is sentenced to prison because of a legal error by his lawyer.
Alfred, the former lover of Eisensteins wife, Rosalinda, decides to rekindle the
affair knowing that Eisenstein will soon be in prison. Meanwhile, Eisensteins
friend, Falke, comes dressed as a bat and whisks Eisenstein off to a final masquerade
party prior to his imprisonment.
When Alfred arrives at Eisensteins home to call on Rosalinda, he
is mistaken for Eisenstein and taken off to prison. At the ball, Eisenstein flirts with
and is seduced by a Hungarian countess who happens to be his wife in disguise. Later, when
Eisenstein finally reports to jail, he finds his wife and Alfred already there. The two
Eisensteins recognize their mutual deceits and all is quickly forgiven and blamed on the
In a review of the Die Fledermaus 2000 tour, the San
Francisco Classical Voice wrote of the production: "The joy of Die
Fledermaus is its fantasy of a world we wish we could inhabit, where champagne flows
endlessly and hangovers are a source of fun, where class difference does not matter, where
youth and beauty are eternal, and above all where endless profusion of melody suggests the
unlimited creativity and benevolence of life
Not the least of the charms of the
production is the youth and attractiveness of the artists. The audience does not have to
suspend disbelief as portly performers mimic characters who are often decades younger than
The Western Opera Theater was created in 1967 by Kurt Adler, who was at
the time general director of the San Francisco Opera. The mission of the company was and
still is to present "quality live opera performances to audiences who might not
otherwise have this opportunity." The tour also gives younger artists an opportunity
to perform as part of an ensemble. Throughout its 34-year history, the opera company has
performed thousands of performances in venues as diverse as lunchroom cafeterias,
gymnasiums and community theaters. It was also the first professional opera company to
tour the Peoples Republic of China, and has made tours to Japan and Micronesia.
Tickets for the event are free but required. They can be obtained at Ex
Libris in Sun Valley, Chapter One in Ketchum, Read All About It in Hailey, or at the door.
The Wood River High School doors open at 6:15 p.m. for the 7 p.m. performance. Call
725-0481 ext. 12 for more information.