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Image for Season Opening Celebration: Prince Orlofsky's Grand Masquerade
Season Opening Celebration: Prince Orlofsky's Grand Masquerade
Opera | Ballet | Masterworks

Music by Johann Strauss II
Text by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée
English Dialogue by Charles Ludlam
English Lyrics by Ruth and Thomas Martin

Johann Strauss, II: Overture from Die Fledermaus (The Revenge of the Bat)

Johann Strauss, II: Act II of Die Fledermaus

Entr'acte and Chorus: “What a joy to be here”
Ensemble and Couplets: Adele’s Aria

Johann Strauss, II: Wine, Women, and Song Waltzes

Dayton Ballet

Johann Strauss, II: Act II of Die Fledermaus

Duet: “How engaging, how capricious”
Csárdás: “Voice of my homeland”

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5

Dayton Ballet

Vittorio Monti: Csárdás

Aurelian Oprea, violin

Vincenzo Bellini: “Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni” from La Sonnambula

Monét X Change, bass-baritone

Gioachino Rossini: “La Calunnia” from The Barber of Seville

Monét X Change, bass-baritone

Johann Strauss, II: Finale of Act II from Die Fledermaus
Johann Strauss, II: Thunder and Lightning Polka

Dayton Ballet

Johann Strauss, II: Finale of Act II from Die Fledermaus (Conclusion)

Artistic and Production Team

Kathleen Clawson, stage director

Neal Gittleman, conductor

Brandon Ragland, choreographer

Jeffrey Powell, chorus master

Matthew P. Benjamin, lighting designer

Kelly DeLisle, stage manager

Dayton Opera Chorus

Cynthia Schindler
Paula Powell
Megan Rehberg
Skye Johnson
Stephanie Voelker
Carol Chatfield
Maria Hess
Amy R. Herbst
Emily Murphy
Gabriella Erbacher
Jackie Randall
Lorraine Rohrer
Marcus Bedinger
James Trzeciak
Carl Rosenthal
Ben Flanders
Guy Chambers
Bryan Daly
Aaron Gouge
Ron Anderson
Michael Henry Taint

About the Composer

In order to better understand Act II of Die Fledermaus, please enjoy a brief synopsis of the events in Act I.

Dr. Falke earned the nickname of Dr. Fledermaus (the German word for bat), when his best friend Eisenstein played a practical joke on him. One drunken evening, after a costume ball, Eisenstein left Dr. Falke to sleep it off on a park bench, wearing little more than a bat mask. The next morning, Falke awoke, surrounded by a laughing crowd. Now it is time for “The revenge of the bat.”

Adele, Rosalinda’s chambermaid, receives an invitation (sent from Dr. Falke) to attend a glamorous party at the home of Prince Orlofsky. She tricks Rosalinda into giving her the night off and heads to the party. Eisenstein has been sentenced to eight days in jail for striking a police officer and must begin his term that very night. Falke urges Eisenstein to delay going to jail until morning and instead join him at the party. Falke tells Eisenstein to bring along his infamous pocket watch to charm the ladies. While Eisenstein changes, Falke invites Rosalinda to the ball as well, telling her that if she comes in disguise, she’ll be able to observe her husband flirting with other women. Rosalinde at first doesn’t like the idea but changes her mind when Eisenstein reappears in evening dress.

ACT II: Prince Orlofsky’s Party

Dr. Falke tells Prince Orlofsky’s about the entertainment he has prepared for the evening: orchestral music, ballet, and a dramatic joke. Adele is presented as an actress named Olga. Eisenstein enters, posing, as Falke has instructed, the Marquis Renard. Orlofsky explains his guests should behave however they want and do anything they like. Eisenstein recognizes Adele as his wife’s maid, but she laughs him off. Frank the prison warden is also posing as a Frenchman, the Chevalier Chagrin, and he and Eisenstein become fast friends.

Rosalinda arrives, disguised as a Hungarian countess. Eisenstein starts flirting with her, and she manages to steal his pocket watch. When questioned about her identity, Rosalinda sings an impassioned song to her homeland. In homage of the Countess, more Hungarian music and dance follow. The evening’s special entertainment is introduced. Orlofsky and all the guests toast the special guest, and continue the celebration with champagne, a toast to love and brotherhood, and more dancing.

A Note from the Director

Raise your glass to the opening of a sparkling season of music and dance!

When we began our season planning, there was desire to begin with a program that featured all three art forms, as had been done with the Season Opening Spectaculars since 2013, the second season after the merger. Prevented from mounting such a program since 2019, we chose “celebration” as our theme. I suggested we look at the greatest opera party of them all, Johann Strauss II’s comic masterpiece Act II of Die Fledermaus (The Revenge of the Bat). This is often used as a stand-alone piece for opera Galas around the world, from a Gala at Covent Garden celebrating Joan Sutherland’s last performance at the Royal Opera House to a Beverly Sill’s Farewell to the New York City Opera.

Fledermaus has been an important part of the repertory of Dayton Opera. It has been presented seven times (the first in 1966, the last in 2006), and no wonder, it’s a fun, light-hearted evening of theatre filled with brilliant, unforgettable music. Virtually every note of this operetta was inspired by the rhythms of the dances which were wildly popular all over Europe in 1874. Strauss was prolific in the composition of dances like the polka and the galop or can can. What could be more perfect to celebrate the new Dayton Ballet Artistic Director, Brandon Ragland?

With music by Johann Strauss II and a libretto by Richard Genée and Carl Haffner Fledermaus premiered at the Theater an der Wein on April 5, 1874. This score is infectious! The tunes and rhythms carry you away. Strauss once observed: “If an operetta is to become popular, everyone must find something in it that appeals to his taste…one must manage to send them from the performance so that something immediately sticks in their ear!”

Sung in English, our production uses an adaptation of Charles Ludlam’s English dialogue, which he adapted from WS Gilbert’s play On Bail which was based on the French vaudeville play, Le Réveillon, by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. Ludlam created his dialogue for a production he directed for the Santa Fe Opera in 1985. Ludlam was founder of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company in New York City in 1967. His most popular play, and the only one to enter the standard repertory, is The Mystery of Irma Vep, in which two actors manage, through a variety of quick-change techniques, to play seven roles in a send-up of gothic horror novels. In 1991, Irma Vep was the most produced play in the United States; Ludlam was diagnosed with AIDS in March 1987 and died a month later.

The overture of Die Fledermaus perfectly captures the spirit of the entire score, which is how the evening will begin.

We then move to Act II, at the Villa of Prince Orlofsky, a young Russian prince who is perpetually bored. This role is what is known in opera as a “pants role”, in which a woman plays the role of a man (usually to differentiate between a young man and an older man.) This has been an operatic tradition for over 300 years. It is also tradition to “supersize” this Act with extra music and special guests and we have done just that. I am delighted to present as a special guest at Prince Orlofsky’s Grand Masquerade, Monét X Change.

The plot is revenge for a practical joke Gabriel Eisenstein played on his friend, Dr. Falke. It is also about a couple who have settled into a routine and have forgotten what drew them together in the first place, and through an evening of role-play reveal to each other the sexiest version of themselves and fall back in love.

After sitting in the theatre together, laughing at the same jokes, inspired by the artistry of our musicians and dancers, I hope that audiences leave feeling lighter, feeling better about the world, knowing that sometimes things work out, as we celebrate our unique organization and the opportunity our collaboration presents.

– Kathleen Clawson