BWW Review: DIE FLEDERMAUS Captures Quality
If laughter is the best medicine, then I will not be sick for the rest of the year. Between the hilarious plays I have seen recently and last night's DIE FLEDERMAUS (The Bat), I have certainly had a couple of weeks full of chuckles. Birmingham is certainly the place to be if you need a laugh this weekend.
The Birmingham Music Club and Patty McDonald present DIE FLEDERMAUS by Johann Strauss II at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre at the Alabama School of Fine Arts this weekend. If seeing an opera is on your bucket list or you've ever just been curious to see an opera, then this is the one for you. It is presented in English and is lighthearted and well done. DIE FLEDERMAUS is fast paced, with an interesting story, dancing and physical comedy.
It might surprise you that opera can be so funny, have lots of dialogue and hold your attention from start to finish. It surprised me that half of the audience was made up of young people under thirty. I grew up being exposed to opera fairly regularly, so I was thrilled to see a new generation interested in this art form.
With a live orchestra, beautiful costumes, and marvelous singers, The Birmingham Music Club has continued its long heritage here in town with this entertaining production. Birmingham's oldest cultural arts club is celebrating its 111th year. Started as a group of ladies in 1905, BMC has grown to be a non-profit organization that not only brings in classical music artists for concerts, but produces high quality musical performances of their own.
Using talent from Birmingham and the surrounding area, the Music Club shows us once again that we really don't have to venture too far to find all of the talent any type of production could need.
Jennifer Bryant and Caleb Clark play Rosalinda and her husband Eisenstein who have an interesting relationship, to say the least. Both sing beautifully and can act as well. Christopher O'Rear plays Dr. Falke, who wreaks havoc in the Eisenstein's marriage as revenge for a prank played on him years ago. When O'Rear and Clark sing together it is one of the best sounds you will ever hear.
Adding a comedic turn to the whole thing are Stan Nelson as Dr. Blind, a stuttering lawyer who can't seem to get his briefcase and get out without being caught and Hannah Muse as Prince Orlofshy, a hard to impress royal who throws the party that gets everyone in trouble.
But the star of the show has to be Lydia Beasley as the maid Adele. Another outstanding singer, Ms. Beasley also has great comedic timing and fills the stage with her presence whenever she is there.
The entire cast shows you what real opera should sound like. In this day and age when everyone seems to be impressed with small, untrained and unready children singing "at" opera on reality competitions on TV, you owe it to yourself to hear what a truly gifted and properly trained opera singer really sounds like. If you go in open minded, I promise you that you will come out realizing you actually like opera.
This production is beautiful to see and to hear and is expertly directed by Kristin Kenning. The orchestra is conducted by Brian Viliunas, who gives you the first laugh of the evening with his attire. It makes you aware right off "the bat" that this is not going to be some stuffy evening of opera.
So go to www.BhamMusicClub.org or call 205-253-1313 for more information about DIE FLEDERMAUS. Or better yet, just head on down to ASFA tonight or tomorrow afternoon and get a ticket at the door. But hurry- this delight will only be presented this weekend, June 10-12.