Peabody Opera Theatre presents economical 'Die Fledermaus'

March 12, 2010|By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

Operettas don't come any more durable than "Die Fledermaus." The libretto holds up well, with its roaming-eye husbands, tempted wives, would-be actresses - nothing that isn't still being mined for sitcoms. Add in the ineffable music of Johann Strauss, and it's high art.

Of course, "Fledermaus" doesn't sell itself. You've still got to fuel it with plenty of vocal and theatrical finesse. On Wednesday night, Peabody Opera Theatre's economical new production offered enough of those requirements to deliver a winning performance. (Wednesday's cast sings tonight, with a different lineup on Saturday.)

Lindsay Thompson, as the ambitious chambermaid Adele, stood out for her gleaming tone, prismatic phrasing and assured acting; the soprano sounded entirely ready for her close-up. As Alfredo, the Italian tenor who slips into something more comfortable and more complicated, William Davenport looked every bit the part and sang with brio. Stephen Campbell, as Eisenstein, lacked tonal heft, but delivered abundant charm.

The other solo singing proved variable, the acting uniformly engaging; Michael Rainbow, as the flustered lawyer, revealed an affinity for comic shtick. The chorus made a vibrant sound. Nicholas Fichter did an amusing turn in the speaking role of the drunken jailer.

Roger Brunyate's stage direction ensured a brisk pace, but he had his singers tossing a few too many glasses and bottles around. In the pit, Hajime Teri Murai conducted the mostly tight orchestra with admirable alertness to the distinctive Viennese lilt of the score.

"Die Fledermaus" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Peabody Institute, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call 410-234-4800 or go to peabody.jhu.edu.

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