GLOW’s ‘Die Fledermaus’ bubbles over with talent

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Paul Hyde | GreenvilleOnline.com

When in doubt, blame it on the champagne. That’s the deepest moral one is likely to divine in “Die Fledermaus” (“The Bat”), Johann Strauss Jr.’s witty 1874 operetta which is enjoying an appropriately frothy staging by Greenville Light Opera Works at Centre Stage.

Sung in English and directed in broadly comic style by Jenna Tamisiea, GLOW’s artistic director, this “Fledermaus” is an entertaining spring frolic that benefits greatly from several impressive voices.

One of the staples of the operetta repertoire, “Die Fledermaus” concerns the efforts of Dr. Falke to reap revenge on his friend Eisenstein. The latter, after a costume party, had abandoned the drunken Falke dressed as a bat in the center of town.

To shorten a complex plot, suffice it to say that naughty mayhem ensues.

Diana Thompson, as the cheeky maid Adele, soars delightfully in the familiar “Laughing Song,” negotiating all of Adele’s vocal pyrotechnics with aplomb and sparkling skill.

Brandon Snook, as the parodistic tenor Alfred, also is a standout, boasting a ringing voice and suave musicianship.

Serena Hill is a fine Rosalinda, her silvery voice clear, supple and strong. Dixie Roberts sings the perpetually bored trouser role of Count Orlovsky with a rich mezzo-soprano.

Patrick Howle as Eisenstein, Michael Hix as Dr. Falke and Michael LaRoche as Frank comprise a solid male trio.

Bruce Meahl and Jonathan Kilpatrick offer strong, daffy contributions in the comic roles of, respectively, the drunken jailer Frosch and the blind lawyer Blind.

In full ensemble numbers, the group produces some gorgeous sounds.

Two Carolina Ballet Theatre dancers, Josha Spigner and Matthew Harvey, have a graceful turn in the spotlight.

Conductor Christian Elser, GLOW’s general director, keeps the Waltz King’s effervescent score rollicking along.

A couple of quibbles: At Friday’s opening performance, I missed some of the words of the songs: enunciation was not always crystal clear. Also, some stage business seemed all too busy, distracting from the music.

These were minor shortcomings in an otherwise appealing “Die Fledermaus.” Remaining performances are tonight and May 13-14 at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. For tickets, call 864-233-6733.

Arts Writer Paul Hyde can be reached at 864-298-4004.

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