BY HOLLY CHAMPION
Q. What do you get when you cross fresh young Australian voices, raucous Prohibition-era parties awash with champagne, and some of the most catchy Viennese waltz melodies ever written?
A. Strauss’ operetta Die Fledermaus, presented in a blaze of colour late this month at the Independent Theatre by Operantics, Sydney’s young operatic artists’ company.
Flamboyant Director and self-confessed “frustrated singer” Ian Warwick, along with Musical Director Keiren Brandt-Sawdy and Operantics Producer and Founder Katie Miller-Crispe, are all busy working on a new show together with a dozen or so young singers. Many are fresh from the conservatorium’s opera school. Together this talented team is creating a multi-lingual whirlwind of song and dance, set in the cultural melting pot of late 1920s New York.
The beloved Fledermaus (German for “the bat”) is a hilariously funny tale of drunken escapades, infidelity and elaborate pranks that first exploded onto Vienna’s public scene in the mid-1870s. It features melodies that even opera-haters will instantly recognise and enjoy, such as a genius comic song in Act I, sung by three shady characters all trying to pretend that they will have a terrible time alone that evening. Only the audience knows that all three are secretly plotting to go to the same party in disguise.
Another instant earworm is to be found in the uproarious Champagne Polka chorus, sung by the whole cast in the context of the very same lavish party at the end of Act II. Tapping their toes, audiences will spill out at Interval into the Independent Theatre’s elegant, appropriately art deco-style foyer for a glass or two of something sparkling, and conversation to match.
This is your chance to meet the opera stars of tomorrow, and have a great evening out while you’re at it!
Supported by Yarra Burn Wines, Die Fledermaus opens 20 April and runs for four performances. Opening night guests will receive a complimentary refreshment.
Tickets $15 – $45, available via Operantics’ website.
Image supplied. Credit: John Kilkeary.