Die Rache der Fledermaus, at the Komische Oper, Berlin

The Revenge of the Bat

By: - Feb 22, 2023

 Die Rache der Fledermaus (The Revenge of the Bat), at Komische Oper, Berlin

Barrie Kosky is not any longer the head of the Komische Oper, but he signs responsible for bringing this quirky production from the Casinotheater in Winterthur, Switzerland, to the opera house in Berlin.

Die Fledermaus, by Johann Strauss, from 1874, is one of the most well known light operas the world over.  Known for its indulgence into song and dance, the audience is at first surprised to find an almost empty stage with a five member musical ensemble to play all the tunes.  What happened to the opera house and its orchestra? As the director of the work, Stefan Huber, and the musical director, Kai Tietje, put it: they wanted to streamline the production. They succeeded but added to the waltzes some more contemporary tunes.  In addition they are using here Strauss' original title of the light opera that later on became world famous as simply Fledermaus.

The story line remains as in the 19th Century.  Gabriel von Eisenstein (Tobias Bonn) abandons his drunken friend, Dr. Falke (Max Gertsch) after a carneval's debauchery. Falke has to walk home the next morning in his bat costume to the amusement of all. Now he wants to take revenge at a party in Prince Orlofsky's palais.  All gets mixed up, Rosalinde von Eisenstein (Christoph Marti) as a Hungarian countess makes her husband fall in love with her at the ball,  and he even parts with his beloved watch for her. When the next morning dawns, all is rectified, as everybody meets in jail. Adele (Gabriele Ryffel), Eisenstein's chambermaid with a great voice returns to just being their maid again. The former admirer of  Rosalinde, (Alan Hodzovic) can leave the prison cell, since he was mistakenly imprisoned as Eisenstein. Luckily, the real Eisenstein appears.  All is resolved, everybody is happy, and Frosch (Stefan Kurt) as a delightful prison guard is probably still wondering about this unusual prison.

Although the story was not changed, the stage setting and the costumes are quite different in this production, they are mixed and scrambled.  Chairs are from both centuries, the same goes for costumes, the rest of the stage is pretty much empty. But it does not matter.  The music and the well known songs unify the action. Everybody left the theater with a joyous demeanor.  Perhaps it was the same in 1947 when the Komische Oper was reopened with The Fledermaus. Maybe then, it was seen as revenge for the horrible destruction of World War II all around.