Light Opera Works | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Light Opera Works 

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Perhaps the most famous and beloved operetta of all time, Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus is quintessential Viennese schmaltz disguised as a lighthearted cautionary tale against overindulgence. Its narrative is convoluted, as marital infidelities, friendly rivalries, and assorted past grievances are aired at a masked ball on New Year's Eve. And of course on the morning after all is blamed on the wickedness of champagne. As much as it pretends to be Mozartean, Fledermaus doesn't have the emotional heft and melodious gift of the originals nor does it have the charm and world-weariness of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. But it does have a parade of tuneful waltzes and memorable characters, from the haughty Rosalinda to the naughty Eisenstein (her gallant husband). This Light Opera Works revival, to be sung in English, is staged by Philip Kraus, who knows how to underscore the ironies and milk the shtick. Even more noteworthy is the return of maestro Peter Lipari, a LOW veteran who's adept at fleet pacing and at balancing the serious and absurd. The cast includes sopranos Denise Finneran and Susan Lane Stokes (alternating as Rosalinda), tenors Bob Heitzinger and Timothy Bradley (alternating as Eisenstein), deadpan funny man William Wronski, and Jo Rodenburg. Wednesday, 2 PM, Thursday through next Saturday, December 30, 8 PM, and next Sunday, December 31, 2 and 8 PM, Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson, Evanston; 708-869-6300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rich Foreman.

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