Die Fledermaus takes the stage

The Jacksonville Opera Theatre (JOT) rocked audiences on January 15 and 16 with their production of the opera, Die Fledermaus, at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.

Die Fledermaus is a light operetta composed by Johann Strauss II. Not only does the production feature many singing performances, but it also incorporates humor to keep the audience entertained from beginning to end.

The plot includes the major theme of disguise — many of the characters pose as others to attend the glamorous ball hosted by Prince Orlofsky. Eisenstein, the main character, lies to his wife, Rosalinde, about where he is going.

Rosalinde discovers his lie and plans to expose him. Eisenstein spends much of the night flirting with who he thinks is a Hungarian countess, but it is later revealed that she is actually his wife. The opera ends on a high note with everyone toasting to champagne.

Auditions for the production took place in November and extensive 9-to-5 music rehearsals were scheduled throughout December. Set production began early January in the performance center of Mason Hall.

Much of the cast was composed of JSU students studying vocal performance with JSU professors Nathan Wight and Teresa Stricklin. Stricklin even exercised her diva-persona with special guest performances during the opera wowing audience members with “hit the wall and make it come back to you” high notes.

The level of experience in the cast varied greatly. For Nicholas Doyle, who was Prince Orlofsky, this was his first ever musical production combining the elements of singing and acting. Doyle said, “This was my first ever production, and it was an amazing opportunity.”

He thanked Wight for the chance to further his singing and acting skills. Doyle plans to pursue a career in vocal performance.

For others, like Debra Mantua, who portrayed the character of Adele, this was her last performance with the JOT. Mantua details her experience as very challenging — which made it more fun — and enjoyed her third act solo the most. Mantua plans to continue her passion for vocal and drama performance once she graduates.

The JOT was accompanied by the JSU Orchestra under the direction of JSU flute professor, Jeremy Benson. The orchestra is made up of JSU students and faculty.

Overall, the production was a huge success. JSU sophomore Autumn Cole saw the show on Friday and said “I was very entertained with the humor and the audience-actor relationship during the performance.”

Matthew Hill
Special to The Chanticleer

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