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Author: Kelly Dean Hansen, Camera Classical Music Writer

DAILY CAMERA: CU opera season takes off with ‘The Bat’

Chancellor DiStefano has cameo in Strauss’ ‘Die Fledermaus’

The translated title is “The Bat.”

But it’s not a spooky Halloween story — but then again, masks do play an important role. No, the most popular and enduring 19th century Viennese operetta, “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss, is really about champagne, and its music sounds that way.

The libretto even admits as much at the end.

There’s a lot of fun getting to that conclusion. The “bat” of the title is the character Dr. Falke, who was once humiliated while wearing a bat costume. The plot revolves around Falke’s elaborate revenge for the incident, played out upon its perpetrator, Gabriel von Eisenstein, the main character.

But in truth, that framework is just to get everyone to a ball. And nobody could write music for a ball like Strauss. There is plenty of flirting and a bit of teased infidelity, but if champagne is to blame, who could be angry at the end?

University of Colorado Eklund Opera director Leigh Holman to open the 2016-17 opera season is directing her first “Fledermaus.” The production plays on Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 23 at CU’s Macky Auditorium. Both the dialogue and the sung text will be presented in an English translation from the original German, which is fairly standard for this work.

The gorgeous music and the crazy, ultimately feel-good story are just what we need in a time of uncertainty, Holman said.

“It will be a good way for everyone to relax and have fun,” she said.

Music director Nicholas Carthy said that Strauss was not a natural at setting words, which explains why most of his other operettas are not in the repertoire. But he struck gold with this particular libretto.

“It’s just so much better than everything else he wrote in the genre,” Carthy said.

Read the full article here.