Whenever one mentions Johann Strauss, Jr., most persons think of his unforgettable waltzes such as "The Beautiful Blue Danube", "Tales From the Vienna Woods" etc. He was not the only Viennese composer of waltzes who wrote in the 19th century. But so popular did his works become, that he has become known as "the Waltz King" ever since not only in the "City of My Dreams" but all over the world.
But that is not all he wrote.
He also wrote an operatic gem, "Die Fledermaus", a delightful comic opera. The title is "The Bat" in English but it is more familiar in German. It gets its title from the costume worn at a fancy dress ball by one of its chief characters.
It has been delighting audiences for more than century. The music has all the charm of 19th century Vienna; the story is classic comic and one does not need to understand German to understand its humor. It has a plot of sorts but here is nothing complex or subtle. One simply comes to enjoy it.
The Ball is hosted by a prominent member of Vienna high society, Count Orolosky; however, it is sung by Ms. Jean Stilwell. The action centers on interactions between the wealthy socialite, Gabriel Eisenstein and the man he has offended and who seeks revenge, Dr. Falke. It is the latter who dresses like the Bat. Eisenstein's wife, Rosalinda is there to add spice to the goings on. No more can be said less this intro diminish the audience's enjoyment. To add to that we will find Alfred, a singer and the maid, Adele doing their things. The performers in the order listed above are: Ms. Stilwell; David Malis; Erich Parse;Caroline Whisnant; Richard Drews; hami Rogers. All hut Drews are making their debuts locally. A 40 member chorus adds beauty to it.
That is also true for Conductor Daniel Beckwith and Stage Manager Michael Albano.
Staged at Kentucky Center for the Arts. whose stage fits the ball, performances will be 8pm, Friday March 10 and 2pm, Sunday March 12.
Get your tickets promptly and ask about the delightful Lunch and Listen sessions. Call 584-4500.
Don't miss it!
The composer Robert Schumann once described Cherubini's "Requiem" as "without equal in the world!" It will also be the highlight of the Bach Society's third concert on Sunday, February at 2 p.m. and 7:30 pm, both at Holy Spirit Church on Lexington Road.
It may help to recall that a Requiem is NOT a dirge - it can be an expression of hope. The carefully chosen and the well rehearsed program also includes: Thomas Tallis' "Spem In Alium" (a tribute to the virtue of hope), which has no fewer than forty separate choral parts; Giovanni Gabriele's "Omnes Gentes" (All nations praise the Lord); Bach's Motet "Der Geist Hilft" (The Spirit Also Helps Us). Michael Neely and the talented Louisville Youth Choir will share the stage with Bach Society personnel.
Truly, this can be a festival of sound for those who come to it. Just reading the Society's brochure can make one want to do so. Music can do for the ear what paintings do for the eye. Sometimes it's all too easy to forget to cultivate the sense of hearing. Music can help here. It may be why Socrates once wrote; "hinder not music!"
Melvin Dickerson and Michael Neely have spared no effort to let the sounds of this concert speak for themselves. daily life can be less pedestrian when sounds like these are heard.