Operetta Research Center
21 March, 2017
Performing operetta in big opera houses is often not an easy task – because the intimacy is easily lost, and because regular large-size opera companies don’t have the performers needed for the “special requirements” of the genre. Best of all fare supposed “standard” works such as Merry Widow and Fledermaus, re-imagined as sugary-sweet “easy listening” operas full of “easy fun” (often verging on the embarrassing). The Deutsche Oper Berlin will offer such a new Fledermaus next season with some surprise casting.
After Rolando Villazón staged Puccini’s “operetta” La Rondine at the Deutsche Oper, and by all accounts quite successfully, he will now return to stage Johann Strauss‘ masterwork. Whether that will offer anything novel or groundbreaking like Barrie Kosky’s operetta productions at Berlin’s other opera house is doubtful. But the fact remains, that the still-running Fledermaus at the Komische by Andreas Homoki is not exactly brilliant, so there is definitely room for something new, even if the world has certainly not been waiting for yet another Fledermaus. (The Staatsoper had one too, not too long ago; conducted by Zubin Mehta. And the Neuköllner Oper just offered Fledermaus last month.)
The other “star” or the production is Annette Dasch as Rosalinde, after her somewhat lackluster Madame Pompadour at the Volksoper Vienna; also available on CD and not exactly proof of any particular operetta talent. At least not in a Massary role. How she will navigate the high-lying coloratura phrases in Fledermaus could be interesting to hear. Angela Brower will sing Orlowsky, Nicole Halstett Adele, Markus Brück is Dr. Franck and Thomas Blondelle the philandering Eisenstein.
You could say: that’s all very reasonable casting without any major surprises, and it promises to be a fairly routine affair. So no new Neuköllner Oper deconstruction, probably.
Whether conductor Donald Runnicles, of all people, will add any extra glamour to the Strauss score is also questionable, he’s not exactly knows for his sonic subtlety. On the contrary…. Few Wagner conductors have excelled in operetta repertoire. But we’ll have to wait and see what happens on 28 April, 2018.
For more information and performance dates, click here.