Danny Burstein, Betsy Wolfe Make Met Debuts in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Opening Tonight
A new production of Johann Strauss Jr.'s New Year's Eve classic, the comedic operetta Die Fledermaus, will open at the Met tonight, December 31, with two Broadway stars appearing.
Jeremy Sams, writer and creator of the Met's Baroque pastiche, The Enchanted Island, makes his company debut as director with the new staging, which is set in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century. Sams also contributes new lyrics for Strauss's work, which will be performed entirely in English; Tony Award-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane makes his Met debut with new dialogue. Adam Fischer conducts a cast of rising opera stars and Broadway performers. The cast is led by Susanna Phillips and Christopher Maltman as the unhappily married Rosalinde and Eisenstein; Jane Archibald as Rosalinde's feisty maid, Adele; Anthony Roth Costanzo as Prince Orlofsky; Michael Fabiano as Rosalinde's former lover, Alfred; Paulo Szot as the bumbling Dr. Falke; and Patrick Carfizzi as the prison superintendent, Frank.
This will be the Met's fourth production of Die Fledermaus, which had its company premiere in 1905. Previous stagings include the 1950 production, directed by Garson Kanin and conducted by Eugene Ormandy, which was performed entirely in English as translated by Kanin and lyricist Howard Dietz. The most recent production, a 1986 staging by Otto Schenk, was sung in German with English dialogue, translated by Marcel Prawy. In the Met's 1998-99 season, the Broadway team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green provided new English dialogue and a revised storyline for the operetta, though the music was still sung in German.
Jeremy Sams, a playwright, director, translator, and composer, wrote and devised the world-premiere pastiche The Enchanted Island, which opened at the Met on New Year's Eve 2012. His Broadway credits as a director include a revival of Michael Frayn's farce Noises Off and the Jason Robert Brown musical 13. In his native England, he received an Olivier Award nomination for directing the musical Spend Spend Spend and has also staged adaptations of The Wizard of Oz on the West End andEducating Rita at the Menier Chocolate Factory. He received a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for his English adaptation of Amour, a Michel Legrand musical that opened on Broadway in 2002, and adapted the film Chitty Chitty Bang Banginto a stage production that played on both Broadway and the West End.
Douglas Carter Beane earned Tony nominations for his play The Little Dog Laughed (2006) and for the books of the musicals Xanadu (2007), Sister Act (2011), Lysistrata Jones (2011), and Cinderella (2013). His other works include The Nance,which opened on Broadway in 2013; and the off-Broadway plays Mr. & Mrs. Fitch (2010); Mondo Drama (2003); Music From a Sparkling Planet (2001); The Country Club (1999); As Bees in Honey Drown (1997); and Advice From a Caterpillar (1991).
Adam Fischer made his Met debut in 1994 conducting Verdi's Otello. In subsequent seasons with the company, he has led performances of Rossini's IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Verdi's Aida, and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. He is the music director of the Austro-HungarIan Haydn Orchestra and the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Chief Conductor of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra.
Earlier this season, Susanna Phillips made an acclaimed Met role debut as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, her third Mozart heroine with the company, under the baton of James Levine in his first performances after a two-year absence from the Met podium. Her other Met performances have included Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Musetta in Puccini's La Bohème, the role of her company debut. This spring, she will return to the Met to reprise her performances as both Musetta and Fiordiligi.
Jane Archibald made her Met debut in 2010 as Ophélie in a new production of Thomas's Hamlet. Her other performances this season include Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Bavarian State Opera and Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Olympia in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann at Zurich Opera.
Anthony Roth Costanzo made his Met debut in 2011 as Unulfo in Handel's Rodelinda. Later that season, he originated the role of Ferdinand in The Enchanted Island and sang some performances of Prospero, filling in for an ailing colleague. Later this season, he will reprise his Ferdinand in a revival of The Enchanted Island at the Met in February and sing Eustazio in Handel'sRinaldo at Glyndebourne.
Christopher Maltman's previous roles at the Met have included the Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos (the role of his 2005 debut), Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. His other engagements this season include the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni (Berlin State Opera) and, at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, both the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro and Lescaut in a forthcoming new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut.
Michael Fabiano first came to prominence as a winner of the Met's 2007 National Council Auditions, which were documented in the film The Audition. He made his company debut in 2010 as Raffaele in Verdi's Stiffelio and returned last season to sing Cassio in Otello. His other performances this season include Rodolfo in La Bohème at Canadian Opera Company, the VerdiRequiem at San Francisco Opera, and the title role in Gounod's Faust at Netherlands Opera.
Paulo Szot made his Met debut in 2010, singing the leading role of Kovalyov in the company premiere of Shostakovich'sThe Nose, a performance he reprised this season. His Met repertory also includes Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen and Lescaut in the 2012 new production premiere of Massenet's Manon. He won a 2008 Tony Award for his performance in South Pacific on Broadway.
Patrick Carfizzi has sung more than 250 Met performances in 29 roles. His most recent appearances with the company include Peter Quince in this season's revival of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Jailer in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, and Schaunard in La Bohème.
Danny Burstein has appeared in 14 Broadway productions, earning Tony nominations for his performances as Aldolpho inThe Drowsy Chaperone, Luther Billis in South Pacific, Buddy in Follies, and Tokio in Golden Boy. His other credits include the musicals Titanic and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. This season, he stars on Broadway as Max Hohmann in Sharr White's The Snow Geese (Manhattan Theater Club) and plays Herr Schultz in the Roundabout Theater Company's forthcoming revival of Cabaret.
Betsy Wolfe was most recently seen on Broadway as Miss Rosa Bud in the Roundabout's revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and off-Broadway as Cathy in Second Stage's revival of The Last Five Years. This spring, she will star as Ellen in the Broadway musical adaptation of Woody Allen's film Bullets Over Broadway.
Robert Jones designed the sets for the Met premiere staging of Donizetti's Anna Bolena and last season's hit new production of Handel's Giulio Cesare. Jennifer Schriever's recent lighting designs include the Broadway production of John Leguizamo'sGhetto Klown and the Soho Playhouse staging of The Other Josh Cohen. Stephen Mear's previous credits include The Little Mermaid on Broadway and, as co-choreographer, the stage adaptation of Mary Poppins.
Tonight's December 31 opening performance will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74, as will the performances on January 11 and 15, and February 13 and 20. The December 31 and February 13 performances will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org.
The January 11 matinee performance will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
For more information on this season's performances of Die Fledermaus, please visit the Met's website at www.metopera.org.
Photo by Walter McBride.