Opera Transports 19th Century Vienna to Modern Berkeley

Friday July 16, 2004

The Berkeley Opera’s production of Bat Out of Hell, David Scott Marley’s witty English adaptation of Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Die Fledermaus, opens today (Friday) at the Julia Morgan Theater. 

The original Fledermaus teased the middle class society of 19th century Vienna. Marley’s version, whose 1996 premiere was a great catch for the Berkeley Opera, transplants the scene to late 1990s Berkeley, in the midst of the dot-com boom. Marley rewrote much of the libretto while translating it, with a keen ear for snappy dialogue and adding many clever plot twists. The famous Fledermaus gala party scene is moved to a pretentious house in the Berkeley Hills, and Prince Orlovsky emerges as “Bill” Orlovsky, teenage software mogul. 

Artistic Director Jon-athan Khuner conducts and Ann Woodhead directs the production. Featured singers for Bat Out of Hell are Jillian Khuner as Ros Eisenstein, Shawnette Sulker as Adela, Sonia Gariaeff as Bill Orlovsky, Martin Lewis as Gabe Eisenstein, and Jason Sarten as Harry Falke. Richard Goodman and Wayne Wong alternate as Frank, and Ross Halper and Stephen Rumph alternate as Freddy. Ms. Frosch is played by Fé Bongolan and Mr. Blind is sung by Nicolas Aliaga.