Starting Wednesday, Jan. 16th, the Music Department will bring Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus to the Ragan Theater. Die Fledermaus, often referred to as it’s English translation, The Bat, debuted in 1874, has been performed on stages across the world ever since and has been adapted for the screen twenty times..
Die Fledermaus is not what many may picture when they think of an opera. There are no horned Viking helmets, the music is not oppressively heavy and dark, and much of the story is told through standard dialogue. That’s because Die Fledermaus is technically an operetta, an opera that operates more like a standard stage play—basically the precursor to the modern musical.
Die Fledermaus is based on the farcical piece Das Gefängnis (The Prison) written by Roderich Benedix. Die Fledermaus maintains the comical roots taken from Benedix’s farce and remains funny, even for a modern audience.
Die Fledermaus tells the story of Falke and his scheme to get revenge for a prank played on him by his old friend Gabriel von Eisenstein some years prior. There is much debauchery, mistaken identity, general shenanigans, men dressed as bats and drinking as the operetta progresses. The music of Die Fledermaus is largely upbeat and considered more accessible than other operettas of the period.
Die Fledermaus is referenced frequently in modern media. From a character in The Tick who many people incorrectly associated with Batman, to a reference in Friends (Die Fledermaus is where Ross meets Emily, a key love interest).
Die Fledermaus runs from Jan. 16-19 in the Ragan Theater. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets can be purchased at this link.