Double helping of funny, fizzy `Fledermaus'

Opera: The Annapolis Chorale's production this weekend will include champagne toasts and a post-performance dance party.

January 18, 2001|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Anne Arundel County will be basking in the glow of Viennese elegance and laughter this weekend, courtesy of the inimitable Johann Strauss.

The great "Waltz King" is famous not only for the "ein, zwei, drei" ("one, two, three") fluidity and grace of masterpieces like his "Blue Danube" and "Tales of the Vienna Woods," but also for one of the fizziest, most colorful nights of them all at the opera.

It is Strauss' delightful opera "Die Fledermaus" ("The Bat") which will be performed twice this weekend at different venues in the county.

Annapolis Chorale Music Director J. Ernest Green, his singers and chamber orchestra, and talented soloists are standing by, ready to regale listeners with classic arias like "My Dear Marquis," Rosalinde's irresistible Hungarian "Czardas," and the cast's final toast to - what else? - the power of champagne.

"Die Fledermaus" will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow in Price Auditorium at Severn School in Severna Park. Billed as "The `Die Fledermaus' Concert and Dance Party," the evening will include champagne toasts, assorted hors d'oeuvres, and a post-performance dance party with the Unified Jazz Ensemble on hand to get everyone's toes tapping.

The ticket price for the full evening's entertainment is $25. Tickets may be purchased by calling the chorale at 410-263-1906, or through the ensemble's Web site at www.annapolischorale.org.

The identical production (but minus the jazz, food and bubbly) will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday at Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts in Brooklyn Park, under the auspices of the Performing Arts Association of Linthicum. Tickets are $10 and may be ordered by calling 410-859-5224.

In the chorale's production, the sparkling role of Rosalinda, belle of the opera's masked ball who gets to masquerade as a Hungarian countess and perform that wonderful "Czardas" in the bargain, will be sung by Pamela Gale.

Lyric soprano Carolene Winter, one of the area's most appealing singers, will perform the role of Adele, the attractive maid who cuts quite a figure at the party.

Eisenstein, the buffoon too clueless to realize that the woman he has been flirting up a storm with at the ball is his wife, will be sung by tenor Paul McIlvaine.

Stephen Markuson appears as Doctor Falke, the friend Eisenstein once left stranded in the hilariously embarrassing bat costume that gives the opera its name.

The universal appeal of Strauss' marvelously tuneful and funny opera was attested to by Sir Thomas Beecham, the English maestro who was one of the great conductors of the 20th century.

"Here at last we had nearly everything to present that was dear to the heart of the English playgoer, including a large spice of that rowdy humor on the stage which he feels is out of place nowhere," Sir Thomas wrote of "Die Fledermaus." "By general consent it was agreed that here were the goods."

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