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Die Fledermaus (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Andrew Greenwood wields a tight baton as the Welsh National Opera’s touring Die Fledermaus produces frivolous fun and froth, and a good helping of laughs.

The ‘two baritones and a tenor behaving badly’ pantomimic frolic is played on Tim Reed’s elegant set with sumptuous costuming by Deirdre Clancy.

Johann Strauss II’s operetta is a tale of revenge (served cold with champagne and dancing) but there is no real malice. Dr Falke (baritone David Stout) sets up his elaborate plot to punish his friend Eisenstein (tenor Mark Stone) for having left him blind drunk, stripped of his bat costume outside a convent with just a (large) mask for decency’s sake.

The plot thickens as philanderer Eisenstein is supposed to be turning himself in for a week in the clink having bopped a policeman on the nose. Instead he decides to have a final fling unbeknownst to his wife Rosalinde (soprano Nuccia Focile) who has adulterous intentions of her own.

There follows the classic scenario of masked mysterious seductress, everyone pretending to be someone else and chaotic unveiling – all to wreak revenge and to amuse the bored millionaire Prince Orlofsky (mezzo soprano Helen Lapalaan). Director John Copely runs a fine line between musical farce and operetta and falls just on the right side of the divide. David Stout is excellent as the tipsy prison governor while Desmond Barritt makes a good fist of stand-up as Frosch inserting contemporary references into his routine.

Best on the night for me though were Paul Charles Clarke as the larger-than-life love-lorn opera singer Alfred whose dramatic leap from his muse’s balcony is a hilarious operatic send-up and soprano Joanne Boag who sings fun-loving maid Adele superbly.

A colourful and entertaining evening with two intervals and plenty of chuckles.


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