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This new release comes from last summer's new production of 'Die Fledermaus' at Glyndebourne, the first ever at that bucolic English opera house. I can happily report that it is first-rate in all respects. The production is helped by the cutting-edge facilities of the new Glyndebourne Opera House built in the 1990s; the ingenious and striking revolving stage setting is a marvel. The story has been updated by about thirty years - to about 1900 - in order to subtly emphasize the sexual subtext of the characters' behavior, something not so easily done in the original 1870 setting and with the original text. The text, too, has been updated - in German - and the score is a new critical edition of the Strauss's 1874 score, and it is played complete except for one very minor cut. The cast is superb. As I write this review Amazon has not included the cast list, so I shall do so:
Alfred - Pär Lindskog
Adele - Lyubov Petrova
Rosalinde - Pamela Armstrong
von Eisenstein - Thomas Allen
Dr. Blind - Ragnar Ulfung
Dr. Falke - Hakan Hagegard
Frank - Artur Korn
Prince Orlofsky - Malena Ernman
Frosch - Udo Samel
Ida - Renée Schüttengruber
The London Philharmonic is conducted by very talented young (32) conductor (and the LPO's new principal guest conductor), Vladimir Jurowski. (And in case you wondered, yes he is the son of conductor Mikhail Jurowski.) The director is Stephen Lawless, who has done a wonderful job of underlining the the hypocrisies of the fin de siécle Viennese middle class. It's not for nothing, he says in an interview included on the DVD, that the operetta is named 'The Bat,' as it shows the after-dark behavior of the bourgeoisie. In his interlude before the beginning of Act III, German actor Udo Samel as Frosch gives the operetta a new subtitle, 'Baritones Behaving Badly.' (Of course, the other reason for its name is that the deus ex machina of the plot is the sly Dr. Falke [Ger. 'Falcon,'] who dresses as a bat at the fancy dress ball of the Act II.)
The costumes are gorgeous, the dancing spectacular, the sets sumptuous. The singing, I have to say, is the equal of the starry cast of the te Kanawa/Prey/Domingo Covent Garden DVD from 1983. And it makes the recent Euro-trashy production from Salzburg even less desirable than it already was. (Go read my review of that DVD for more details of that travesty.) The acting of the singers - all of whom LOOK the part - is subtle and convincing. I would single out the acting of mezzo Malena Ernman, as the epicene Prince Orlofsky, quite the most convincing jaded young aristocrat I've ever seen; she sings well, too, and even in her singing she sounds so, erm, bo-o-ored. . It was good to see veterans Ragnar Ulfung and Hakan Hagegard singing wonderfully as Blind and Falke. Thomas Allen, who continues to be one of the most talented bass-baritones around, is superb as Eisenstein; he showed a comic side I'd never seen before. Pär Lindskog, a tenor not previously known to me, is suitably narcissistic as the singing teacher, Alfred, but occasionally he is a bit under pitch. As to the two main ladies - Armstrong and Petrova - I have nothing but raves for their performances, singing and acting. Petrova gets the most out of her soubrette role and Armstrong plays and sings the not-so-pure Rosalinda with zest and a rich sound.
The extras: Subtitles in English and Spanish. The production is entirely in German except for the spoken interlude in English by Udo Samel as Frosch. Options for stereo or surround sound audio. Pictures of the cast, of the drawings for the costumes and sets. A short interview with the architects of the new Glyndebourne, with a tour of the house and picture of the old house. A short piece about the Viennese waltz. Interviews with Lawless, Armstrong, Allen, Hagegard and Jurowski. The latter illustrates points from the score at the piano.
A triumph for all concerned. A hearty recommendation.
2 DVDs: Total time of the operetta 159 mins. Extras: 35 mins.
Scott Morrison
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This production of Die Fledermaus was recorded at Glyndebourne in 2003 and delivers a sparkling production and performances to match from an experienced cast.

The singing and the acting is excellent throughout and the cast clearly seem to have a particularly vibrant stage relationship with each other - so important with opera, which after all, is really a sung play at its most basic level. The extensive spoken dialogue, and there really is a great deal, is essential to the plot of course and is very easy to follow in the production which makes use of an adapted script by Stephen Lawless and Daniel Dooner and which can be considered a success.

The whole cast is on top form and it would be invidious to particularly highlight any one or more members as being outstanding within such a group. However, there remain stand-out items that are clearly worth mentioning. Lyubov Petrova delivers an Adel of tremendous technical accuracy and this is clearly established with her early `laughing' song and prepares us for her fine delivery throughout the production. She also has a very attractive stage presence and the humour of the role is well-delivered. Malena Ernman delivers a remarkable performance as Prince Orlofsky. This applies to both her acting and vocal abilities and which is underpinned by the very distinctive tonal qualities of her voice, both in speech and in song. Her actual appearance as the prince is equally distinctive and she brings a dominating aura to the role whenever she is on stage.

The experienced Pamela Armstrong as Rosilinde is well partnered with the equally experienced Thomas Allen as Eisenstein and Par Lindskog maintains a pleasing twinkle in his eye as Alfred. Together they make a satisfying dramatic group to which can be added Artur Korn as Frank the prison governor. Haken Hagegard is a serious Dr. Falke intent on revenge and in this he is matched by Ragner Ulfung as Dr. Blind, Eisenstein's lawyer. The non-singing role of Frosch, played by Udo Samel is as convincing as it can be in the circumstances. Renee Schuttengruber is a suitably flighty sister to Adel in her rather lesser role. The chorus is well up to Glyndebourne standards and the staging is suitably opulent in the first two acts. The slight updating of the setting seems totally appropriate and convincing to my mind.

The orchestra plays superbly under the watchful eye of conductor Vladimir Jurowski and who makes sure that the pace of the performance never falters for a moment.

The recording offers sharp imaging that is detailed without being invasive. It fully captures the changing situations and moods unravelling on stage. The sound is provided in excellent surround 5.0 and stereo. There are a number of bonus features including cast and costume galleries, a description of the architecture of Glyndebourne's new opera house, a documentary on the development of the waltz and a number of interviews with the cast and conductor.

This was, justifiably, a particularly successful Glyndebourne production and here it is captured in all its spontaneous glory and with a particularly fine recording to match. Indeed, this performance is so good and of such a uniformly excellent production that it makes one wonder if there will ever be the need for another, although of course there inevitably will be!

The production and performance sparkles like the champagne so often featured in the opera! I have enjoyed it immensely and am sure many other purchasers will too. It seems very likely that most purchasers of this disc will consider that it is a clear 5 star issue and I would be astonished if there were any serious objections to this enthusiastic rating.

The production and performance sparkles like the champagne so often featured in the opera! I have enjoyed it immensely and am sure many others will too. I am as certain as I can be that most purchasers of this disc will agree that it is a clear 5 star issue! I would be astonished if there were any serious objections to this enthusiastic rating.
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on 26 August 2012
Enjoyed every minute of this and the subtitles were very true to the original - not sanitised as I've seen in other versions. Certainly the best and most entertaining version of Die Fledermaus I've seen yet!!
Can't understand why the NTSC version is £9.99 and the PAL version £24.99.
Although it did at the time state on the Web page that it was a PAL version, Amazon sent me an NTSC version. Fortunately, I kept a print out of the web page. By the time I complained, it was obvious the error had been spotted and it now stated NTSC. Amazon however have ignored all my rquests to refund the cost of return postage. It was after all their mistake, not mine.
Highly recommended, but be absolutely sure what version you're ordering and keep a copy of the Web page.
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2004
Die Fledermaus is a comic operetta, the story centres around the womaising Gabriel Von Eisenstien, his wife Rosalinde, their scheeming maid Adele, and Von Eisenstien's friend Dr. Falke.Von Eisenstien has to spend 8 days in jail, his friend Falke suggests that before going to jail that he attends Prince Orlosky's masked ball. Von Eisenstien agrees, and off they go. Rosalinde's maid is given the night off, and she is going to the party in Rosalinde's dress. Rosalinde meanwhile is entertaining an old flame a tenor(Rosalinde has a thing about tenors)to dinner.The Prison Governor arrives, and Rosalinde intimates that the tenor Alfred is in fact Von Eisenstien, so off Alfred goes to gaol. Meanwhile Von Eisenstien is enjoying the party, champagne and women, when a Hungarian Countess arrives, and Von Eisenstien tries to woo her.The Conntess is of course someone known to Von Eisenstien, and the fun starts....Nothing is as it seems,watch Orlosky carefully. The cast are marvellous, Pamela Armstrong as Rosalinde gives a very good performance, Thomas Allen is very convincing as the the womanising Eisenstien. Lyubov Petrova is a very funny Adele.Par Lindkog is the very cheeky Alfred. Malena Ernman is an excellent Orlosky. A very funny opera.
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Strauss: Die Fledermaus [Blu-ray] [2003]

Fledermaus is first and foremost a Viennese comic opera, and although this performance displays all the usual Glyndebourne strengths, with one exception the singers are unable to portray its Viennese roots and charm.

Par Lindskog shines in the role of Alfred and in his duets highlights the stylistic shortcomings of the other singers.

The maid Adele is a key character and Lyubov Petrova sings well enough but fails to generate the mischievous fun necessary to move the action along, her laughing song falls completely flat.

I rather liked the settings which continuously changed within a series of concentric revolving stages creating a sense of enclosed decadence.

Also a new book was written for this performance replacing the original dialogue, I know the music well but unfortunately have never seen the opera with the original dialogue so cannot comment on how successful the change is.
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on 28 November 2004
This is an exceptionally well sung and acted Fledermaus. It also looks great. I have seen a number of different performances and enjoyed this thouroughly. What sets it apart from many others is that it is a rarity amongst commic opera ... it is actually FUNNY!
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on 22 June 2006
I have obviously been spoilt by my DVD of Die Fledermaus performed live by the Vienna State Opera in 1980. I was looking forward to the new Glyndebourne production but have been very disappointed. To start with there are 2 DVDs instead of one. Act 3 is on the second DVD. The stage floor was a zig zag of yellow and black which must have been a nightmare for the cast.

The uplifting overture was spoilt for me by showing members of the cast behind the scenes and was not particularly interesting. I would have preferred to watch the excellent orchestra, conducted by the handsome Russian, Vladimir Jurowski, perform instead.

A favourite part, the Tritsch Tratsch Polka, was performed by just a few ballet dancers (probably the small stage was a constraining factor but never the less this should be a polka for the whole cast).

A small treat were 2 short extra pieces of Strauss music, but again, for the exuberant Fledermaus waltz there were just a few `drunken' people on stage. The pace of the whole performance was just too slow.

Maybe this was acceptable for one night at Glyndebourne but I am going back to the Viennese performance.
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on 27 April 2016
excellent service and top quality CD
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on 4 February 2017
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