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Review: State Opera’s Die Fledermaus


Director David Lampard’s State Opera production of the Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus is set in Beverly Hills, where the characters are busting to get to a celebrity party thrown by a Hollywood producer.

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The set is refreshingly sparse, with a set of simple windows centre-stage and basic furniture and large palm trees upstage, which allows lighting designer Nathan Luscombe to play with effects as he highlights the cast and chorus in a street, a home, a sleazy party or a prison.

The incident that has Falke (Joshua Rowe) embarrassed and enraged because he has been abandoned by his friend, Gabriel von Eisenstein (Adam Goodburn), is told through dance and movement and sets the scene for his revenge.

Desiree Frahn, as Eisenstein’s wife Rosalinda, and Sarah-Jane Pattichis, as Adele her maid, are equally impressive in their solos and duets, both having beautiful and powerful voices. Adele is desperate to be freed from work so she can attend the party with the important producers because she dreams of making it as an actress.

Meanwhile, along comes Beau Sandford, as Alfredo, magnificently serenading his ex-lover Rosalinda, who weakens every time she hears his voice.

Sarah-Jane Pattichis and Karina Jay as Adele and Ida. Photo: Darren Williams

Andrew Turner, looking like a mad professor, is Eisenstein’s lawyer and also returns as Frank, the policeman who comes to take him to prison for having hit a police officer.

In act two, party host Prince Orlovsky – played by Rosanne Hosking in black tight vinyl pants, long white hair and green beard, much like Eurovision’s Conchita – encourages the partygoers to enjoy themselves, and the Beverly Hills setting allows for more lighthearted fun and excellent solos from Frahn and Pattichis.

Part of the fun comes from Turner and Goodburn being Australians playing American characters who are putting on French accents. This act has a couple of grand chorus numbers that look and sound fantastic. There is a small bevy of beautiful green-haired “fembots“ (waitresses) who add to the choreography and fun.

The opening of act three is hysterical when Rod Schultz, as policeman Frosch, combines with Alfredo, singing from the cells with a mop, bucket and stool, to re-create iconic Hollywood movie moments, proving there is no such thing as a small role.

Conductor Nicholas Braithwaite, as usual, produces a marvellous sound from the Adelaide Art Orchestra and the cast and chorus. State Opera’s Die Fledermaus is full of colourful costumes; zany characters; classy lighting, songs and choreography; witty lines and accents from around the world.

From where the audience sits, it looks as though the cast, crew and artistic team are having a great time staging the production.

The final performance of Die Flaudermaus is at Her Majesty’s Theatre tonight.

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