"Baritones behaving badly" in a good, if not great, Die Fledermaus
I adore Die Fledermaus, it is one of my all-time favourite operettas being hugely funny with some of Johann Strauss' best ever music. This 2003 Glyndebourne production is not bad at all, in fact it's quite good with a great cast. I just felt it lacked the zest of the 1984(Covent Garden), 1972(Kleiber-conducted), 1986(Munich and Met) and 1990(Covent Garden) productions, though even then it is light-years above the 2001 Salzburg performance.
The stage did at times seem too small and constrained, a big reason I think as to why the Tritsch Tratsch Polka fell flat for me. I also wasn't sure about the whole seeing the cast getting prepared backstage thing, I have seen times where it has worked but here it didn't seem very interesting to me, especially as it is during the Overture where generally you'd expect the focus to be on the orchestra. As Adele, Lyubov Petrova sings wonderfully but just lacks the character's sense of mischief. Howver the costumes and sets are beautiful to look at, and the dancing on the whole is sumptuous, though I did wish there was more people participating. The sound, camera work and picture quality are great.
Musically, it sparkles with energy. The orchestral playing is rich and stylish, the chorus are beautifully blended and the handsome, young Vladmir Jurowski shows what a promising talent he is. The stage direction is well done, while not as zesty as previous productions it is still amusing with some great interplay between the cast and the dialogue still amusing. What the director Stephen Lawless manages to do successfully also, is underline the hypocrisy of the Viennesse middle class. The singing and most of the acting is wonderful, as I said Petrova sang with no problem, it's just that her acting just lacked that extra something.
Pamela Armstrong's Rosalinde manages to be zesty and rich, Par Lindskog is a narcissistic and very funny Alfred and Thomas Allen as well as singing with his usual aplomb is a comic joy as Einsenstein. I mustn't forget Malena Ernman's subtly bored and beautifully sung Prince Orlofsky, Udo Samel's hilarious drunk jailer Frosch(the character behind, in this production, the "baritones behaving badly" line) or the wonderful contributions from veterans Ragnar Ulfung and Hakkan Hagagard(a great Einsenstein himself) as Blind and Falke. So all in all, I did enjoy this production of Die Fledermaus and would see it again for the singing. However there are five other productions I'd put over it. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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