Strauss: Die Fledermaus (Die Fledermaus: Vienna State Opera 1980) (Arthaus Dvd: 107153)
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Arthaus presents the quintessence of operetta Die Fledermaus in a lavish staging from the theatre where it is most at home: the Vienna State Opera. Under the direction of theatrical living legend Otto Schenk, a dream-team of perfectly matched singers made this a memorable night in true Viennese style. The premiere of this 1979 staging was greeted enthusiastically by the audience, and a legend was created, one that has spread beyond Viennese opera-going circles. This prompted Austrian Television to broadcast Die Fledermaus live from the Opera a year later. Now released on DVD, the show is as fresh as ever, reveling in that particularly sparkling New Year's Eve spirit. The cast of this unforgettable Fledermaus gathered some of the best operatic singer-actors of the 1980s: The wonderful Lucia Popp, who died much too early in 1993, creates a bourgoise Rosalinde with her own charm. Edita Gruberova is a brilliant Adele, and with her magnifi cient vocal prowess she is a far cry from the typical cliched soubrette. Bernd Weikl's Eisenstein and Walter Berry's Falke add an ironic touch to the operetta happiness and Brigitte Fassbaender is of course the incarnation of Prince Orlofsky - a mezzo with a perfectly "male" bearing, portrayed by both her acting and her looks.
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