Bayerische Staatsoper 2016-17 Preview: ‘Die Fledermaus’ Rings in the New Year

By David Salazar

The Bayerische Staatsoper kicks off the New Year with a performance of Johann Strauss II’s popular “Die Fledermaus.”

The performances gets going at 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. EST) and ends around 9:20 p.m. with only one intermission. The New Year’s Eve performance is already sold out.

The run, which features three additional performances on Jan. 2, 5 and 8, will be conducted by Kirill Petrenko in a production by Andreas Weirich. Weirich’s first production with the company came in 2010 with Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote.” He followed that up with six performances of Nepomuks Nacht, Poul Ruder’s “Selma Jezkova” and the current “Fledermaus” production.

Petrenko has been the General Music Director at the Bayerische Staatsoper since September 2013. Among the works he has taken on since becoming music director are “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” “La clemenza di Tito,” “Die Soldaten,” “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “Lulu.” He also did a revival of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” Aside from “Fledermaus,” the maestro took on the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s “South Pole” and a new production of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg” this season. He is also conducting revivals of “Tosca,” “Lulu,” “Ariadne auf Naxos” and “Der Rosenkavalier.

The Performers

OperaWire’s Artist of the Week Johannes Martin Kranzle will star as Gabriel von Eisenstein with Elena Pankratova as his wife Rosalinda. The remainder of the cast includes Edgaras Montvidas as Alfred, Bjorn Burger will make his house debut as Dr. Falke and Anja-Nina Bahrmann will make a return as Adele.  Kranzle has performed in “Das Rheingold” and “Die Zauberflote” at the company while Pankratova has a lengthy trajectory with the Stsatsoper that dates back to 2011 and features performances in “Nabucco,” “Die Frau ohne Schatten” and “Turandot.” She is slated to take on “Tannhauser” and “Die Frau ohne Schatten” in 2017 with the company.

Montvidas has performed in “Eugene Onegin” and “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” with the company while Bahrmann made her debut in 2012 with Mozart’s “Mitridate.”

Notable Recordings

There are a plethora of great recordings of this venerated work. Carlos Kleiber’s recording with the Bavarian State Orchestra is quite possibly the most famous of all. Another solid recording is Herbert Von Karajan’s and an all-star cast consisting of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Nicolai Gedda.

But this opera is one that should also be given a look on video, if only to bask in the endless inventiveness that has sprung from it. My personal favorite is the Royal Opera’s production featuring Hermann Prey and Kiri Te Kanawa with Placido Domingo in the pit. The team has tremendous fun throwing in music from other operas and endlessly improvising. It makes the opera rather refreshing and constantly feels unpredictable.