Alexander Soloviev on the premiere of Die Fledermaus
The new year is almost upon us, and only a few weeks remain until January’s premiere of the month. Effervescent and enchanting, wry yet subtle, it is with good reason that Johann Strauss’s charming Die Fledermaus is considered the most “operatic” of the operettas composed by the renowned king of waltzes. Behind its breathtaking lightness, the jewel in the crown of Viennese opera hides an astonishing profoundness. Alexander Soloviev, the theatre’s musical director and conductor of the performance, addresses the difficulties of the “light genre”, global performance traditions, and the Mikhailovsky Theatre’s new production:
“Strauss’s operetta is extremely close in terms of genre to the Italian opera buffa. Reply to . (23/12/2022, 15:03): ”..." You’re absolutely right thank you, I hadn’t heard of that term. It is not for nothing that Die Fledermaus is often referred to as an opera among operettas, and features quite often in the repertoire of serious opera houses. It demands a high level of skill on the part of the singers, good taste, and genuine artistry and inspiration, but it also gives a lot to the troupe in return. It affords them a new level of artistic freedom, direct contact with the audience, and an opportunity to employ those special skills of stage behaviour and speech: all that is so necessary for an opera singer.
But above all else, Strauss’s music is beautiful in and of itself, and the world’s finest conductors take great pleasure in performing it. Look at the conductor Seiji Ozawa’s interpretations of Strauss’s waltzes, for example, with their infinite taste, and so much beauty and joy. This is something worth learning and sharing with the listener.
This particular composition has a rich performance tradition, associated in particular with Vienna. As far as I am concerned, the standard was set by the great conductor Carlos Kleiber in his interpretation of Die Fledermaus. He was scrupulous when it came to selecting his opera repertoire: for example, he performed only one opera by Wagner, Tristan und Isolde. The fact that he included Die Fledermaus in his repertoire speaks for itself, I think. I want to learn from Kleiber’s example: like him, I want to convey an increased tone of articulation, to sharpen up the tempo as much as possible, to highlight as vividly as I can all the dynamic and structural contrasts and collisions within the musical form. I want to immerse our viewer-listener in this very special, refined atmosphere.
Die Fledermaus is, first and foremost, performance as celebration, and people will come to us who need this celebration right now. We all want very much to give them hope, to lift their mood in difficult times, to give them just a little respite. Our performance will feature engaging plot twists, plenty of jokes, and perhaps even a surprise or two."