Fledermaus or The Revenge of the Bat was first performed in 1874. Its trifling narrative is completely vindicated by the lovely music and arias. This DVD by Opera Australia delighted us with magnificent staging, costumes and singing.
This light-hearted fantasy was built on the comic revenge that Dr Falke sought on his friend Eisenstein for leaving him in his bat’s costume in a public park when they walked home after a fancy-dress ball. Falke in league with the world-weary Prince Orlovsky, arranges to have the main characters attend Orlovsky’s grand ball, but disguised under false names. Eisenstein deceives his wife into thinking he is going to prison that night, but she sees him at the ball introduced as the Marquis de Renard; she attends in disguise as a Hungarian Countess. Her maid, who was to visit a sick grandmother, is there too wearing one of her mistress’s grand gowns and pretending to be an actress called Olga. And Frank, the policeman, comes as the Chevalier Chagrin.
Orlovsky is delighted as his guests flirt, make fools of themselves and leave none the wiser of the trick played on them. The next morning at the local police station they all assemble and the truth about their identities is revealed. They all forgive each other and blame the evening on the large quantities of champagne they all drank.