Die Fledermaus has some of the greatest comic melodies ever presented on an operatic stage--a festival of light-hearted tunes bound together by a plot and a cast of characters that make a virtue of absurdity. This 1988 ... more »production, which is acted as charmingly as it is sung, brings out the show's wit, energy, vitality, and, above all, style--a special gemutlichkeit usually associated with Vienna but also cultivated, on this occasion, in Munich. Nobody in this production's superbly chosen cast has the kind of name recognition enjoyed by the stars of the competing DVD from Covent Garden: Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, and Luciano Pavarotti. But they are all first- class musicians and/or comic actors, adept in the special requirements of Viennese operetta and integrated into a deftly crafted ensemble production, with expert conducting by Carlos Kleiber and finely detailed stage direction by Otto Schenk. At Covent Garden, in Joan Sutherland's farewell appearance, Pavarotti et al. were simply inserted into the Act II party scene as "guests"--musically splendid but irrelevant to the story. In contrast, the Bavarian State Opera production presents Die Fledermaus substantially as Johann Strauss II originally imagined it--something the Covent Garden production, performed in English, did not manage (or, really, attempt) to do. The men in the cast provide a lot of the comedy, but the most spectacular music is given to the women: Pamela Coburn as a housewife who masquerades as a Hungarian countess, Janet Perry as a chambermaid who wants to break into show biz, Brigitte Fassbaender in the colorful trouser role of Prince Orlofsky. These performances are carefully poised on the brink of outrageousness but never go too far. Deutsche Grammophon supplies an informative, illustrated booklet with this disc--a rarity in DVD productions and much appreciated. --Joe McLellan« less
"This is a first rate Die Fledermaus!I watched this DVD last nite for the first time and what a pleasant surprise. Right from the opening chords of the overture you could tell that the conductor Carlos Kleiber obviously loved this work, and the orchestra responded in kind to his caressful approach(see some video of him in the latter part of the opera) to conducting this piece.
The opera takes place at the Bavarian State Opera Ballet and is performed before a live audience that was in a very receptive and appreciative mood.
The video director was Brian Large. Superb! Really, you can have the best singers, orchestra and sets but if the camera angles and switching isn't done properly then the final product can be very mediocre. No worry here.The singing is stellar: with Eberhard Wachter (Gabriel von Eisenstein), Pamela Coburn (Rosalinde) and Janet Perry (Adele) in the leading roles. The acting is good: light hearted, honest and the overall production is really very funny, without seemingly to have to try to be funny. The cast genuinely seemed to be having a great time on stage and responded enthusiastically to the audience's appreciative applause. And then.... there were the costumes(especially the ladies) and the sets: Absolutely gorgeous, sumptuous. Perfectly fitting for the setting that this work was written for. I would have no hesitation in recommending this wonderful, funny opera to anyone. You will love this "Fledermaus""
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 03/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Imagine a performance where the music was played beautifully and with a loving caress. Imagine a cast in which each singer seems the epitome of the character portrayed. Imagine exceptional acting with that singing, and you have this--the very best performance of Die Fledermaus. The sets, costumes, and staging are also just right. You will feel that you're right there, at a Viennese grand ball, surrounded by beautiful people, enchanting music, and having a rollicking good time! It's like being right there at the very best New Year's Eve party you could ever imagine. You will enjoy this performance over and over."
Beautiful except Act III and Kleibers ego
karl Schreiber | 10/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cast (especially the adorable Janet Perry) is truly outstanding in this fine operetta. Unfortunately, Act III almosts ruins the whole thing with its disgusting attempt at comedy. No fault of the actors though and some very lovely singing by Perry almosts rescues it. But what really irks me is the camera shot of Kleiber during the most reflective and sumptous moments of Breuderline (sp). I sat in horror and disbelief and cursed his giant ego which must surely be the only explanation for this criminal act. I like Kleiber a lot but this nonsense of showing the conductor at the most inappropriate moment is ridiculous.P.S. If you love Johann Strauss check out his serious operetta, Simplicius, on DVD by Kultur which stretches the boundaries toward opera status. That is one incredible show. Buy this Fledermaus and Simplicius and have a Straussfest!"
Kleiber conducts fledermaus
Philippe Ferdinande | Landen Belgium | 01/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"carlos kleiber is the real star of this production
here the music is "der koenig aller weine"
beautifull cast ,very well sung and great performance with
brigitte fassbaender as prince orlofsky, but once again it is kleiber the real star of this production"
Strauss - Die Fledermaus / Kleiber, Coburn, Perry, Bayerisch
karl Schreiber | Maryland | 01/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this opera several times on a vhs tape. Tape quality was poor due to wear. Seeing it on DVD was a huge visual improvement; and, with the audio connected to an external amplifier, I was able to hear the kettle drums reverberation. Act-3 was boosted with satire to its extreme in this 1987 edition. "