Die Fledermaus – A Perfect Beginning to the Pocket Opera 2023 Season

Pocket Opera's "Die Fledermaus"
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By Chunyan Zhou

The Pocket Opera presentation of Die Fledermaus in the English Version by Donald Pippin that was shown at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts on March 26, 2023 was an absolute delight. This operetta  was composed by Johann Strauss II to a German libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée, which premiered in 1874. This production was excellent.

Following a wonderful introduction by the general director, the small band composed of 11 people began playing and the infectious music delighted the audience, as the full musical charm of Pocket Opera’s art was revealed. This lovely touch of spring was especially appreciated after the long cold winter.

Leandra Ramm as Prince Orlofsky

The party at Prince Orlofsky’s palace opened the Pocket Opera’s 2023 Season!

This is the best-known stage work by Strauss.  With music that everyone might want to dance to, gorgeous costumes and glamorous ball settings, it is a delight, and very funny. This opens Pocket Opera’s season.

Eisenstein’s house

In the first act at Rosalinde and Eisenstein’s home, Adele, Alfred and Doctor Falke appear separately and set up the plot  Everyone on the stage was compelling.

Liam Daley (Doctor Falke) sounds calm, intelligent and knowledgeable like a doctor, but smart beyond his profession. Melissa Sondhi(Adele)presents a young maid with her pure and energetic voice. Her treble aria is very clear and beautiful. There is a sense of sword sharpness, clean and full of passion and power. Her coloratura soprano creates a comic effect perfectly.

Eric Mellum and Patrick Hagen as Blind and Eisenstein

Prince Orlofsky’s ballroom

The staging in the second act was very interesting. The cast of 10 people occupied the 360-degree wide-angle stage. Patrick Hagen (Eisenstein) has very strong and fresh voice, beautiful timbre, without losing the comedy features. Cheryl Cain (Rosalinde) shows her strength easily in the performance. She sounds round, noble and magnetic! As the Heroine No. 1, she completely expresses how a married woman protects her happiness from the noisy world. Finally, Kevin Gino (Alfred) ’s performance was as great as at another pocket opera Merry Widow (l’oeil Legion of Honor theater in San Francisco’s Legion of Honor museum, April 13, 2022. (See Merry Widow review), Mr. Gino is an opera singer portraying an opera singer. 

Melissa Sondhi dazzles as Adele

The jail

The final waltz is a beautiful melody. The staging and costuming were very impressive and brought out the beauty of voice, choreography and story. The Prince (mezzo- soprano Leandra Ramm) is played with comic nobility. Ms. Ramm does a good job of showing the change from being cynical to being helpful utilizing a clear, ringing tone. 

In the third act, in the prison, we see falseness and prosperity, and wonder what the world ibetween the real and the unreal? Filled with misunderstandings, lies, deceit, dreams and bubbles, the struggle and pursuit “deep in my heart” …… . Social life causes changes in people’s intimate relationships. What is the doctor to expect?

The male and female trio and chorus among Rosalinde, Eisenstein and Alfred’s is humorous, beautiful and impactful. They are fully involved in the plot trying to bring fairness and justice to the world!  Where is love in all of this, and what is a joke?

The lavish costumes coordinated by Taurean Feaster and clever set pieces by Daniel Yelen highlight the comedic staging by director Madeline Abel-Kerns.

The rich get a lesson and learn that happiness and self-satisfaction can come from helping others.

This was a wonderful beginning to the Pocket Opera season ahead.

Photos are courtesy of Pocket Opera

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