Opera News In Review
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Die Fledermaus, Opera New Jersey
By David Shengold
Opera New Jersey's "winter" show this year was Die Fledermaus, presented in Princeton, Morristown and finally New Brunswick (seen Feb. 22). Strauss's evergreen comedy didn't quite fill the enormous State Theatre on a cold, drizzly Sunday afternoon, but a large crowd stayed to cheer, clearly admiring the work of a strong cast under Ira Siff's zany direction and Mark Flint's sure baton.
Flint's polished forces — Opera New Jersey regularly offers higher orchestral standards than many regional companies — played onstage, with a black scrim descending between them and the downstage playing area after the Overture. Monitors helped maintain good ensemble. Siff deployed only a few choice set elements to stage an effervescent drama; most of the visual elegance derived from Patricia Hibbert's lovely costumes, in which Lisa Vroman's Rosalinde, Rachele Gilmore's Adele and Allison Pohl's Ida looked stunning. Siff's enlivening touch was evident in the (well-timed) frenetic pace, overall verbal clarity, some borscht-soaked comic riffs and the odd insane touch (such as an evidently losing bout of Russian roulette audible in the wings during Orlofsky's song). His actors didn't stint on innuendo: surely this knowing work profits from a genuine layer of loucheness.
Vroman, a classical-trained Broadway star, has been making a stir in music theater parts lately; here, she gamely replaced an ailing Ruth Ann Swenson, learning her part in six days. This is one talented, classy professional: her singing was as fluent and delightful as her acting. Others have brought more tonal weight to the register extremes of the czardas, but she aced all the exposed high notes, sang with consistently clear tone and meaningful words and proved herself thoroughly at home in the idiom.
U.S. 1 Newspaper
Opera Review: ‘Die Fledermaus’
by Elaine Strauss
Catapulted into the role of Rosalinde, soprano Lisa Vroman had the five-and-a-half-hour flight from California to New Jersey to review the part, and nine rehearsals before stepping onstage at McCarter Theater to star in Opera New Jersey’s lively production of Johann Strauss, Jr’s “Die Fledermaus,” the first of three performances. The comedy plays also Friday evening, February 20, inMorristown, and Sunday, February 22, in New Brunswick’s State Theater.
Vroman fused seamlessly into a very even ensemble of strong voices whose acting skills and bent for comedy made for a sparkling production. This was a taut ensemble piece with all the participants helping each other toss the shenanigans across the footlights to the audience. Responding with appreciative chuckles, the audience kept the comic spiral moving ever upwards.