Madeleine Lovell, who conducted the company’s earlier performances of Fidelio, will lead the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Strauss’ bubbling score over two evenings. Howard, a Liszt specialist who has recorded all of the composer’s piano works, will perform the Hungarian Fantasy S.123 during the gala scene in the second act. This special appearance came about from a compliment paid by Howard to Madeleine Lovell at an earlier LLO performance. The two artists are now delighted to be working together on a unique collaboration.
The cast, which includes former Royal Opera Young Artist Ana James as the maid Adele and Sarah Redgwick as Rosalinde, will be joined by the 68-strong voices of the Philharmonia Chorus. Where opera companies can sometimes fall down with this material is in tackling the operarettaish dialogue but LLO are bringing in veteran actor Bernard Horsfall to coach the company, as well as play the comic role of Frosch, the gaoler.
Die Fledermaus, written by Johann Strauss II in 1874, tells of Falke, whose revenge on his friend Eisenstein for leaving him after a party to wake up hungover, still in fancy dress and in full public view, is to ensnare him in an elaborate trap. He arranges for Eisenstein to attend a risqué party at the home of the outrageous Russian aristocrat, Prince Orlofsky, and looks on as he attempts to seduce a mysterious Hungarian countess, who is in fact his wife in disguise.
If London Lyric Opera have not yet taken on anything too much off the beaten track (their first semi-staging was of Der fliegende Höllander at the Barbican last year), future plans include concert performances of the shamefully under-performed Der Freischutz.
The performances of Die Fledermaus will be dedicated to the Australian soprano Deborah Riedel, who died of cancer earlier this year.
Die Fledermaus will be sung in English and will be performed onTuesday June 16 and Friday June 19 at 7.00pm. Tickets are available at Cadogan Hall on 020 7730 4500 or www.cadoganhall.com and there are further details at www.londonlyricopera.com
London Lyric Opera enjoy the support of corporate sponsor Wardour (www.wardour.co.uk)
- Simon Thomas