Opera.broadwayworld.com

BWW Reviews: The Long and Short of It--DIE FLEDERMAUS and THE MAGIC FLUTE at the Met

���
Related: Metropolitan Opera, Die Fledermaus, The Magic Flute
BWW Reviews: The Long and Short of It--DIE FLEDERMAUS and THE MAGIC FLUTE at the Met

Before seeing the Met's new production of Johann Strauss Jr.'s DIE FLEDERMAUS, directed by Jeremy Sams, on Saturday night, I listened to the afternoon's live broadcast of Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE. Both were written in German and performed in English to make them more palatable to their target audiences (Broadway musical lovers and young opera-goers-in-training, respectively). Both had lots of dialogue interspersed between musical numbers. But, while the Mozart had its guts cut away to shave the running time to 90 minutes without an intermission, the FLEDERMAUS went on--and on and on--for four hours. Both had the same result--and it was not good.

I won't say much about the Mozart, since I only experienced the performance via radio, but it seemed a pretty pallid version of the piece, and a far cry from the full production created by Julie Taymor when it was new. Baritone Nathan Gunn's lively Papageno and the coloratura fireworks of soprano Albina Shagimuratova, as the Queen of the Night, were mostly responsible for bringing it to life, under Jane Glover's firm baton. Otherwise, I was left thinking about all the great music that was missing.

Falling in and out of love

There's really nothing wrong with this FLEDERMAUS--a tale of falling in and out of love, ambition, revenge, mistaken identities and general silliness--that about an hour's worth of pruning wouldn't fix. That would cut out a good portion of Douglas Carter Beane's jokes that don't land and new lyrics, from the pen of director Sams, that have a similar problem. (By the time the famous overture is through, you've heard highlights of the best of the lively score, but there's still a lot more.)

To be fair, Beane surely didn't have enough time in front of a live audience--that's what putting on opera is like vs. the sometimes-endless preview process on Broadway (his usual milieu)--to see what worked and what didn't. That puts the blame squarely on the director, who should have brought in a surer hand for the lyrics, leaving him time to concentrate on getting the show in shape.

Gorgeous sets and costumes

Related Links
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera Announces New Season and a Free Concert at Central LibraryThe Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera Announces New Season and a Free Concert at Central Library
August 30, 2014
Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera's 2014-15 Season to Feature AIDA, LA BOHEME & MoreLos Angeles Metropolitan Opera's 2014-15 Season to Feature AIDA, LA BOHEME & More
August 29, 2014
American Spiritual Ensemble Returns to Sarasota Opera Next MonthAmerican Spiritual Ensemble Returns to Sarasota Opera Next Month
August 29, 2014
OperaLancaster to Present MAD ABOUT MOZART as Part of New Season, 10/2OperaLancaster to Present MAD ABOUT MOZART as Part of New Season, 10/2
August 29, 2014
Cast Change - Jamie Barton to Sing 'Adalgisa' in San Francisco Opera's NORMA, Running 9/5-30Cast Change - Jamie Barton to Sing 'Adalgisa' in San Francisco Opera's NORMA, Running 9/5-30
August 27, 2014


About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts
Richard Sasanow Richard Sasanow is a long-time writer on art, music, food, travel and international business for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Town & Country and Travel & Leisure, among many others. He also interviewed some of the great singers of the 20th century for the programs at the San Francisco Opera and San Diego Opera and worked on US tours of the Orchestre National de France and Vienna State Opera, conducted by Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta and Leonard Bernstein.



REVIEWS
BWW Reviews: SIEGFRIED Triumphs at Union AvenueBWW Reviews: SIEGFRIED Triumphs at Union Avenue

Become a Fan, Follower & Subscriber