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Strauss Johann II
Die Fledermaus
Act I
Act II
Fledermaus, Die (The Bat)
  • Johann Strauss. Komische Operette in three acts. 1874.
  • Libretto by Carl Haffner and Richard Genée, after Le réveillon (The Midnight Supper) by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy.
  • First performance at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, on 5th April 1874.
Gabriel von Eisenstein tenor
Rosalinde, his wife soprano
Alfred, a singer, her lover tenor
Dr Falke, friend of Eisenstein baritone
Prince Orlofsky mezzo-soprano
Frank, governor of the prison baritone
Adele, Rosalinde's maid soprano
Ida, her sister soprano
Dr Blind, Eisenstein's lawyer tenor
Yvan, Prince Orlofsky's valet speaking part
Frosch, a gaoler speaking part

Eisenstein is due to report to prison, having defaulted on his taxes. He is induced, however, to attend a fancy-dress party at Prince Orlofsky's, by his friend Dr Falke, who plans revenge for having been abandoned on a previous occasion to go home in his costume of a bat. Eisenstein's wife takes the opportunity of his absence for an assignation in her house with Alfred, who is mistaken by Frank, the prison governor, for her husband and taken to prison. Adele has sought various excuses for taking time off and in a borrowed dress attends Prince Orlofsky's party, where Rosalinde also appears, disguised as a Hungarian countess. In a play of disguises and partly mistaken identities Eisenstein flirts with his own wife and toasts, under the guise of the Marquis Renard, the prison governor Frank, introduced as the Chevalier Chagrin. They leave together, Eisenstein now intending to report to the prison. There the gaoler Frosch has drunken objections to the singing of Alfred. Adele and her sister, who have dramatic ambitions, seek Frank's help in furthering their stage careers, while Eisenstein, who now arrives, cannot persuade Frank at first of his identity and when he learns that the supposed Eisenstein is already in prison is suspicious of Rosalinde. Disguised as his lawyer Dr Blind, he cross-examines Rosalinde and Alfred, but she retaliates, when he reveals his identity, by producing Eisenstein's watch, which the supposed Hungarian countess had received from him at Prince Orlofsky's. Falke admits his part in the plot, Rosalinde and Alfred claim their assignation as a part of it, and all ends in apparent satisfaction.

The operetta starts with a sparkling overture, with tunes from the last act and then the Fledermaus waltz of the second act party. Adele's laughing song, Mein Herr Marquis (My lord marquis) in which she rejects Eisenstein's suggestion and her true identity, and her delightful display of varied acting ability, Spiel'ich die Unschuld (I play the innocent) to Frank are often heard. Rosalinde‚Äôs Hungarian Czárdás, Klänge der Heimat (Sounds of my own country) is all too convincing, while the song of friendship, Brüderlein und Schwesterlein (Little brothers and sisters), as the party reaches a climax, is among the most memorable of all numbers in the best of all Viennese operettas.


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