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Die Fledermaus at BOU

Emily Yancey (left) and Elizabeth Wojtowicz (right)
Die Fledermaus at BOU
Buffalo Opera Unlimited culminates its 30th anniversary season

On Friday December 4 at 8pm and Sunday December 6 at 2:30pm, Buffalo Opera Unlimited will end its 30th anniversary season with a fully staged production, sung in English, of Johann Strauss II’s operetta Die Fledermaus under the direction of Tim Kennedy, in Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center on the Buffalo State Campus.

Is it as likely that Johann Strauss Jr.’s universally beloved operetta, Die Fledermaus, would have become nearly as popular a staple in the repertoire of English language opera companies if the work’s title, and not only its lyrics, had been translated from German to English? It would seem to be difficult to dispute that the German word ‘fledermaus’ (flying mouse) has a more positive connotation than the English word ‘bat’, its more usual translation. In any case, this delightfully complicated comic tale of would-be revenge and mistaken identities has proven irresistible to audiences since Die Fledermaus premiered at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna in April 1874, with its American premiere taking place just seven months later in New York City.

Die Fledermaus takes place on New Year’s Eve,” says Tim Kennedy, founder and artistic director of Buffalo Opera Unlimited, “but I feel that it is a great choice for the holiday season, generally. While it is technically an operetta, it’s been accepted by countless opera companies as part of their operatic repertoire for its wit, vitality and sparkle. I can’t think of a better production to usher in the holiday spirit than Die Fledermaus. The tunes, waltzes, entertainment and comedy are sewn together in a masterful way to create a masterpiece of long standing. Die Fledermaus also seems a fitting celebration to close out our 30th anniversary year.”

Robert Zimmerman will sing the role of Einstein, and Holly Bewley that of Rosalinda, while Emily Yancey sings the role of Adele, Lorenzo Parnell that of Dr. Blind, with Jeffrey Coyle as Dr. Falke, Michael Hawk as Frank, Elizabeth Wojtowicz as Prince Orlovsky, Cherie Ruben as Ida and Christopher Teal as Frosch. The sets are designed by David Butler; Tom Kostusiak is the lighting designer and Bernadine DeMike is the choreographer and costumer.

“We remain true to our mission statement believing that local and regional talent can be, and sound, professional,” says Kennedy. “One of our lead characters, Rosalinda, is sung by Dr. Holly Bewlay, an associate professor of voice at Buffalo State College; Elizabeth Wojtowicz, who sings the trouser role of Prince Orlofsky, is also on the Buffalo State faculty while David Butler, the set designer, and builder of the set as well, is a graduate of Buffalo State.”

“Opera demands an orchestra pit if you want to produce it properly and there are very few in the Buffalo area. The Performing Arts Center in Rockwell Hall provides us with this necessity and we also love that the location is in the city, since many members of our audience are senior citizens and they live within close proximity to Rockwell Hall. Also, the tiered seating is perfect for viewing opera productions.”

Tickets: $30/Seniors: $25/ Students: $10. Phone 878-3005. Information:

Camerata di Sant’Antonio at St. Louis Church

Now that Thanksgiving Day is past, the classical Christmas music season will be getting into full swing this weekend, with several dozen seasonal music concerts scheduled between now and Christmas Day. One concert of particular note will be taking place this Friday December 4 at 7:30pm at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church at the corner of Main and Edward in downtown Buffalo, off street parking available. Music director Christopher Weber will lead his Camerata di Sant’Antonio and the Choir of St. Louis Church in an event that is being billed as a Concerto di Angeli. All of the costs of this event will be paid for by the generous patronage of supporters of the Camerata di Sant’Antonio, while the reception will be donated by Amberliegh Retirement Community of Williamsville. This means that every dollar collected at the door will be donated to support the programs of the Buffalo City Mission.

The Camerata has earned a deserved reputation for programming works seldom, if ever, heard elsewhere. It continues that tradition with Mozart’s very early Salzburger Symphony in F, K138, while Maria Hardcastle will be the featured soloist in Telemann’s Concerto for Viola Strings and Continuo in G. Carl Maria von Weber’s irresistible Invitation to the Dance, in an arrangement for strings will serve as an introduction to Richard Heuberger’s Nachtmusik, Op. 7—a beautiful serenade of romantic dance melodies for strings premiered by the Camerata in 2010. Frank Scinta will be playing and leading the St. Louis Choir in short interludes before and between the major pieces on the program, and joining the orchestra at the end for Mendelssohn’s Verleigh uns Frieden and the last movement (Beschluss) of Schutz’s Weihnachtshistorie, or Christmas Story.

Admission is by free will offering, $10 suggested donation, with all proceeds going to the Buffalo City Mission.

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