Wednesday, July 25, 2018

SEMI-STAGED “DIE FLEDERMAUS” TO OPEN 2018 BONJ SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL

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Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus 

WHEN: Sunday, August 5, at 3:00 pm 
WHERE:
Dolan Hall , Annunciation Center, The College of Saint Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road, Morristown, NJ
TICKETS: $40 For Adults; $30 for Seniors; $5 for Students (under 22 with ID).
Tickets can be obtained by visiting the Orchestra’s website, by calling the office, 973-366-8922, or at the door, the day of the performance. Information on additional Summer Festival events and Summer Festival tickets ($75) is available on the website.

The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey will open its 2018 Summer Music Festival with a semi-staged performance of Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus, commonly known in English as Revenge of the Bat!  The reference is to a joke played by one character on another, but in reality it's all an excuse for one big party.  Die Fledermaus is perhaps the ultimate operetta—great songs, a light hearted farcical story, high spirited characters, and music that has everybody dancing. The opera will be performed in English so all the zesty humor can shine.

"How can anybody not feel the joy of being alive when enjoying Strauss's magical party operetta," Maestro Bob Butts commented. "There are so many melodies that everybody will hear in the ears long after the performance ends."

The story is one great party—but what a party!

The performance features BONJ singers Timothy Maureen Cole, Kevin Peters, Jason Adamo, Maria Alu, George Spitzer, Teresa Giardina, Dmitri Zigrino, Josh LaRose, Alessia Santoro and the BONJ Opera Chorus.

“Falke is the mastermind of the plot;" stated baritone Jason Adamo (Falke). "It’s all about his revenge on Eisenstein. So he always knows what’s going on while the other characters blunder on—which is great fun, because I get to share the secret with the audience, and people love secrets. He sings some beautiful music, too - he really knows how to throw a party. The performance is a true ensemble, where everyone is an essential part of the action.”

The performance also marks the debut of Timothy (Timmie) Maureen Cole and Kevin Peters as co-directors of BONJ Opera.

"It's been a pleasure working with Bob and Kevin to help bring Fledermaus to life," Timmie stated.  "As an educator, I'm used to directing young students, so it's amazing to be performing and directing such a talented and professional cast."

Both Timmie and Kevin are doing double-duty in the production as they are starring as the husband and wife characters Rosalinda and Gabriel Eisenstein.  "Rosalinda has some of the most fun music, and also some of the funniest material!  It's easy to bring a role like that to life."

Since Die Fledermaus is truly an ensemble opera,  there are many characters and each is a major player in the opera.

"It is a real pleasure to sing Adele!" exclaimed soprano Maria Alu (Adele). "Not only do I get to have a blast emoting and showing off, being alternately melodramatic and effervescent, I also get to sing the best music in the show!"

"I really love the role of Alfred," laughed tenor Dmitri Zigrino (Alfred) . "He is a character near and dear to my heart.  I feel I can play the role just being myself."

Singers prepare their roles differently. In addition to learning the words and music, they explore who the characters are in order to fully bring them to life. "This is my first time performing any role in Die Fledermaus," said baritone George Spitzer (Frank). "Bringing an opera role to life is a long process. I first make sure that I organize my opera score by highlighting my vocal line and highlighting the dynamics and tempo markings. Then I put tabs on every one of my musical entries. I then play my vocal line on the piano and play the piano accompaniment with the vocal line. After this work, I listen to different recordings to get a feel for the style. When I know my music, I make it a point to go over my role with a vocal coach. Only after this, do I feel ready to become the character. I review the opera score and go over what I am saying and what the other characters say about me."

Also featured in the production are Josh LaRose, Alessia Santoro, Anthony Figliano, Bobbi Agins, and Thomas Loughman.

The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey was founded in 1996 with music of the 17th and 18th century at its core. The group performs a variety of genres from concertos to symphonies to operas. Under the auspices of its Pearl and Julius Young Music Competition, the organization has nurtured the talent of many promising young musicians. Under the auspices of its Artistic Director Maestro Butts, the orchestra’s repertoire has expanded to include 20th century and modern pieces by the likes of Joaquin Rodrigo and others.