Athens, Ga. – The comic operetta Die Fledermaus by Johan Strauss II will mark the first multi-unit collaboration in the newly renovated Fine Arts Theatre on the University of Georgia campus when it premieres March 3 at 8 p.m.
The popular show, first performed in 1874, also will be presented March 5, at 8 p.m. and March 6 at 3 p.m.
The operetta is a joint production of the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music, the department of theatre and film studies and the department of dance, all units of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Tickets for the performances are $15 for general admission and $5 for students and are available through the UGA Performing Arts Center box office at 706/542-4400 or www.uga.edu/pac.
The UGA production transports Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, originally set in 19th century Vienna, to early 20th century New Orleans during Mardi Gras. The production is in English, from a new translation by performer and composer Quade Winter. A love story set amidst a triangle of seduction, a masquerade ball, playful revenge and public spectacle, Die Fledermaus employs opera conventions, such as the Italian tenor and a Russian prince for comic effect. The Prince Orlofsky character is a ‘pants role’ in the opera, in which a woman plays a male role and will be performed by Kristin Blanton, a voice graduate student in the school of music from Palm Coast, Fla. The lead roles of Eisenstein and Rosalinda will be played by Joseph Brent and Josephina Delledera, graduate students in the school of music, both from New York City. The opera orchestra, conducted by Mark Cedel, will accompany the singers and actors.
“The amazing set and costumes, the dancing and the festive atmosphere will make the show a night to remember for the whole family and a great introduction to the world of opera.”
Lisa Fusillo from the department of dance contributed choreography to the production. Students and faculty from units involved in the collaborative production joined staff from the Performing Arts Center for rehearsals that began in early January.
“Strauss is symbolic of the 19th century-the waltz from the second act is one of the Vienna waltzes most people recognize,” said Ivan Ingermann, assistant professor of costume design, who created the costumes and the sets for the production. “The set needed an Old World feel, which led us to New Orleans. Opening the show so near to Mardi Gras worked perfectly with the masquerade ball in the second act.”
The department of theatre and film engaged scenic painter Jill Biskin, who worked with the Metropolitan Opera for 10 years and has been associated with the UGA Opera Ensemble since 2009, to paint the sets and work with students. “We are lucky to have an amazing artist like Jill Biskin in this project, and the experience our students are having working with an artist of this caliber is fantastic,” Ingermann said. “She is teaching a scene painting class with theatre students but also business majors and art majors, using the opera as her springboard to lecture and show examples. Many of them are getting experience working on the opera as part of that class.”
“The production requires a great deal of coordination with actors, costumes, wigs, staging, lighting and sets,” said Frederick Burchinal, Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor of Voice in the school of music and director of the opera ensemble who served as producer for Die Fledermaus. “The collaboration of all these departments significantly raises the level of expertise which, when combined with the advantages of a proscenium theatre, is really an ideal situation for opera productions.”
For more information, see www.uga.edu/pac.