Eisenstein is due to report to prison, having defaulted on his taxes. He is induced, however, to attend a fancy-dress party at Prince Orlofsky's, by his friend Dr Falke, who plans revenge for having been abandoned on a previous occasion to go home in his costume of a bat. Eisenstein's wife takes the opportunity of his absence for an assignation in her house with Alfred, who is mistaken by Frank, the prison governor, for her husband and taken to prison. Adele has sought various excuses for taking time off and in a borrowed dress attends Prince Orlofsky's party, where Rosalinde also appears, disguised as a Hungarian countess. In a play of disguises and partly mistaken identities Eisenstein flirts with his own wife and toasts, under the guise of the Marquis Renard, the prison governor Frank, introduced as the Chevalier Chagrin. They leave together, Eisenstein now intending to report to the prison.
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It is the best-known stage work by Strauss, whose fame rested mainly on his ballroom dance pieces. The piece was based on a popular French vaudeville comedy, its action tidied up for the supposedly more-elevated tastes of Viennese audiences. At its premiere, critics still found it scandalous, in part because its story of a practical joke spinning out of control seemed ill-suited for performance on what happened to be Easter Sunday. Audiences, however, immediately loved it.
Musically, Die Fledermaus is thoroughly high-spirited, with numerous waltz and polka themes. Young Prince Orlofsky is played by a mezzo-soprano in masculine garb, as would have been the case in the time of Mozart. In all, Die Fledermaus continued to be an audience pleaser into even into the 21st century.
The chambermaid Adele enters reading a letter from her sister Ida, a ballet dancer. The letter urges Adele to make up a story so she can get the night off and come to the ball being held at the villa of Prince Orlofsky, a wealthy, decadent young Russian nobleman.
Adele laments her status as a chambermaid but resolves to go. She realizes that Alfred is a secret admirer of her mistress and runs after him to see if she can discover his identity. Rosalinde appears, amazed that Alfred has returned. Adele exits weeping. Alfred appears and begins to woo Rosalinde. She manages to get him to leave by promising to see him later that night after her husband has left for jail. Blind promises to appeal, but Gabriel throws him out.
Gabriel and Adele dance out of the room. Rosalinde, left alone, doubts the wisdom of receiving Alfred, who soon appears. Everyone is having a wonderful time at the ball. Ida is surprised to see her sister Adele and denies having written the letter telling her to come to the ball.
Falke assures him that tonight he will laugh, as Falke has planned a little comedy entitled The Revenge of the Bat , to amuse him. The girls excitedly rush off to gamble. Falke then takes the Prince aside and asks him to distract Gabriel while Falke writes a note to Rosalinde informing her where her husband is and what he is doing.
Adele and Ida return from the gaming room, having lost all their money. Gabriel is flabbergasted to see his chambermaid at the ball. Ida asks when dinner will be served, and Falke replies that they are waiting for another guest, a mysterious Hungarian countess who will have to remain masked to protect her identity. The guests decide to stroll in the garden while awaiting the arrival of the mystery lady, leaving Falke alone in the ballroom.
Rosalinde enters, masked, and asks Falke if what he had written to her is true. He shows her Gabriel in the garden flirting with Adele, and she swears vengeance. This ploy—promising to give the lady his watch in return for her favours but never delivering, even when she does—has always worked for him. Orlofsky defends her, telling them that in his house a lady may cover or uncover as much as she wishes. Ida then asks Dr. Falke to tell them the story of the bat, as he had promised. Gabriel protests that he should tell the story, as it was his joke on Falke.
He then tells the guests how three years before, he and Falke had gone to a costume ball dressed, respectively, as a butterfly and a bat. On the way home, Gabriel got Falke drunk and left him asleep in the park in his bat costume. The next day Falke had to walk home in his costume, and ever since, everyone in town has called him the Batty Doctor.
Orlofsky calls for champagne. But the clock is striking six, and Gabriel and Frank are due at jail. They rush off drunkenly as the waltz continues. Frosch, the jailer, enters. His pleasant state of intoxication is interrupted by Alfred singing in his prison cell. Adele and Ida arrive. The bell rings.
Frank confesses that he is no chevalier but instead is the director of the prison. Gabriel then confesses that he is no marquis but is Herr von Eisenstein, who has come to serve his short jail term. Frank refuses to believe him, as he himself arrested Herr von Eisenstein the evening before, while he was at home, dining with his wife. This revelation sobers Gabriel completely. Frosch enters to tell Frank that there is another lady at the door.
Frank exits to see who this mystery lady is, and the bell rings again. Frosch comes back in with Dr. Frosch tells Blind he will bring Gabriel from his cell.
Blind is understandably confused, as he can see Gabriel already there. Gabriel robs Blind of his wig, spectacles, and robe and pushes him off. Frosch brings in Alfred, who is annoyed to see no one there. Rosalinde enters, distraught. Alfred tells her that perhaps the lawyer he has sent for can help them. Gabriel returns disguised as Blind. Rosalinde counters his insinuation that she has been unfaithful by producing his watch. Falke appears with Prince Orlofsky and all the party guests.
The whole situation was a joke: The Revenge of the Bat. Everyone confesses that they were in on the joke, even if they were not! Die Fledermaus. Article Media. Info Print Print.
Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Die Fledermaus operetta by Strauss. See Article History. Britannica Quiz. A Study of Composers. Which of these was a famed English madrigal composer? Rosalinde von Eisenstein, a Viennese lady soprano.
Gabriel von Eisenstein, her husband tenor. Frank, a prison warden baritone. Orlofsky, a Russian prince mezzo-soprano. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Toward the end of the 19th century, perhaps influenced by the gentler quality of Viennese operetta, the French style became more sentimental and less satiric, stressing elegance over parodic bite. Viennese successors…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox!
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The chambermaid Adele enters reading a letter from her sister Sally, a dancer in the Opera Ballet. The letter urges Adele to make up a story so she can get the night off and come to the ball being held at the villa of Prince Orlofsky, a wealthy, decadent young Russian nobleman. Adele laments her status as a chambermaid, but resolves to go. She realizes that Alfred is a secret admirer of her mistress, and runs after him to see if she can discover his identity.
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It is the best-known stage work by Strauss, whose fame rested mainly on his ballroom dance pieces. The piece was based on a popular French vaudeville comedy, its action tidied up for the supposedly more-elevated tastes of Viennese audiences. At its premiere, critics still found it scandalous, in part because its story of a practical joke spinning out of control seemed ill-suited for performance on what happened to be Easter Sunday. Audiences, however, immediately loved it. Musically, Die Fledermaus is thoroughly high-spirited, with numerous waltz and polka themes.
Die Fledermaus: The Revenge of the Bat
This operetta is sung in German with dialogues in English and Mandarin. The production is directed by Mr David Edwards, an internationally renowned stage director for opera, and involves students, staff and alumni from all of NAFA's eight disciplines across three schools. Set in cosmopolitan Singapore of today, Gabriel, an affluent Aart Ddealer, encounters a scuffle with the law and is about to be jailed for eight days. He leaves behind a beautiful wife, Rosalinde, and a vivacious domestic helper, Adele.
The operetta premiered on 5 April at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna and has been part of the regular repertoire ever since: . The first London performance in German did not take place until The role of Eisenstein was originally written for a tenor but is now frequently sung by a baritone. The role of Orlofsky is a trouser role , usually performed by a mezzo-soprano , sometimes by a countertenor and occasionally — an octave lower — by a tenor. The party of Act II allows productions to insert a variety of additional entertainment acts, such as music, comedy, or dance. The lengthy drunken soliloquy by Frosch a comedy speaking role in Act III also permits variety in performance. Gabriel von Eisenstein, a Viennese man-about-town, has been sentenced to eight days in prison for insulting an official, partially due to the incompetence of his attorney, Dr.