Opera 101: 'Die Fledermaus'

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Brimming with lilting waltzes and outrageous comedy, Die Fledermaus (The Bat) by Johann Strauss II, is the most famous operetta ever written. Sad thing is, all but a scarce few of us know little more than a thumbnail about this or any other operatic work. The plot is as follows: In Old Vienna, Dr. Falke plans good-natured revenge on friend Baron von Eisenstein for leaving him asleep on a park bench dressed as a bat following a costume ball. Together they go to a party, where The Bat's Revenge is set in motion. Eisenstein meets a mysterious Hungarian Countess and woos her, but behind her mask-is his wife.

As an operetta — a lighter form of opera that's shorter, more popular in subject and contains spoken dialogue — Die Fledermaus is the perfect primer for those of us looking to improve upon our scant knowledge and acquire a fuller appreciation for the art form.

That's precisely the intent of the ongoing Opera-tunity Insights series, a project of the Opera Audience Development Initiative, made possible in part by the Florida Arts Council.

The next Opera-tunity Insights lecture demonstration consists of an overview of Die Fledermaus by renowned vocal coaches Joseph K. Meyers and Violette Vernaud-Meyers and sung highlights from the opera.

The sung highlights include To Part Is Such Sweet Sorrow, Orlovsky's Couplet, Csardas and Champagne's Delicious Bubbles, performed by featured vocal soloists Michelle Rego Reatini, Susan Falcone, Jean Crossman, Kevin Coward and Rimas Karnavicious. The piano accompanist is Allan Armstrong.

The presentation takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, in the Jaeb Theater of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, where Opera Tampa's production of Die Fledermaus runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in TBPAC's Carol Morsani Hall.

The Opera-tunity Insights lecture is free. Tickets to Die Fledermaus

cost $19.50-$56.50. TBPAC at 1010 N. MacInnes Place, downtown Tampa. Call 813-229-7827.

—Cooper Cruz

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