Strauss in the House

After being left drunk on a park bench in a bat suit, the mischievous Falke decides to exact revenge through an elaborate Viennese ball in Johann Strauss’ operetta “Die Fledermaus.”

The story tells the tales of two friends, Dr. Falke and Gabriel von Eisenstein, who go to a party where Falke becomes drunk. Eisenstein, dressed as a butterfly, decides to leave his wasted friend, who is dressed in a bat suit in a park.

The next day, poor Falke is forced to walk home in shame still wearing the bat suit. The show takes place three years later, when Falke comes up with a plan for revenge.

The title of the show translates to “The Bat.”

“The whole operetta is a practical joke on Eisenstein played by Falke,” said Julie Wieck, associate professor of music and director of opera and musical theater.

Set in the 19th century, Falke’s joke takes root in a Viennese ball where Rosalinde attempts to uncover her husband’s cheating.

“It’s very witty and mischievous,” said senior vocal performance major Samantha Cottam, who plays Eisenstein’s wife Rosalinde. “There’s all these intricate relationships and all these secrets that only so many characters know.”

Nathan and Hanae Straub, who play Eisenstein and the chambermaid Adele, respectively, described the show as comedic with a little drama, with the music supporting the personalities of the characters.

The many waltzes within the show are also prominent, which according to Nathan is typical for “king of waltzes” Strauss. Audience members will be hearing songs they heard before but could never name, he said.

“The ensemble has a really great role,” said Hanae, a junior music education major. “They really help paint the picture and support and further the action in the plot.”

Coupling with the cast members is a full orchestra with a wide range of strings, woodwinds, horns, and percussion. The orchestra is also led by faculty conductor Matthew Aubin.

Wieck said she chose the operetta with the audience in mind. She also liked how the music suits the voices of their younger singers, whereas a normal opera has too heavy of a repertoire to sing with young voices and keep it healthy.

“I keep trying to change things up so students have the experience with a variety of things,” she said.

The show required cast members to do a lot of research for character developments and costumes. The women are in long sleeved blouses and long skirts, such as Cottam’s black, red and gold costume that reflects her wealth status.

Nathan, a senior voice performance major, describes the men’s costumes as business suits but with the old-fashioned tailcoats not normally seen today.

“The tails are definitely a lot more emphasized than the modern suits and modern tuxedos,” he said.

“Die Fledermaus” will play at Bryan Hall at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors.