St. Petersburg- Elegance, Classicism, Ethereal……Hula hoops? Die Fledermaus, the classic comedic opera written by Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) was majestically performed on stage by the St. Petersburg Opera Company on September 30th, October 2nd, and October 4th as part of the 2011-2012 season.
This colorful production of the 1874 opera was gloriously performed by an eclectic collection of vocalists. In a comical manner, this story depicts a tangled situation between a chambermaid, her wealthy mistress and master, and the mistress’ suitor. Entirely oblivious to each others’ plans to attend the party of a well-regarded prince, the situation begins to unravel when they catch each other in a lie. This opera is artfully crafted, introducing the characters in a skillful order, allowing the audience to follow the very involved storyline without getting a headache in the process.
Directed by Maestro Mark Sforzini, the orchestra was a fluid and infectious group of musicians that added an elegant and classic rhythm to a rather chaotic plot. Each piece of music complemented the current scene graciously and eloquently, without taking away from the story itself. It was obvious that a great deal of detail and thought was put into the production as a whole, displayed in the vividly decorated set and each action of the actors on stage, conveying a sense of comedy simply though facial expressions and movements.
A rather unexpected moment in the show occurred during the second act when the Maestro himself took the stage to demonstrate his impressive talent for hula hooping, and I’m not talking your regular school yard hula hooping. At one point there must have been at least a dozen hoops being maneuvered on the Maestro’s neck, hips, ankles, and arms. That was a show in itself!
Another point in the show, the eccentric Prince Orlofsky (played in drag, might I add) announces a toast in which the audience is asked to participate as the champagne was supplied by the theater. These moments during the show disproved the common misconception that the opera is a pretensious art form and allowed the audience to feel a sense of interaction and the ability to step inside the story.
If the opportunity ever arrives for you to see a show produced by the St. Petersburg Opera Company I highly suggest that you take it without a second thought. This company puts a great deal of effort into their productions and they execute a show that you are guaranteed to enjoy and remember.
You can contact St. Petersburg Opera by visiting their website at:
or call at (727)823-2040