Johann Strauss II visits Studio 54 in Sacramento State’s production of the opera Die Fledermaus, at 8 p.m. April 15 and 16, and 3 p.m. April 17 at California Stage, 25th and R streets.
Originally set in 1870s Vienna, Austria, Die Fledermaus tells how Gabriel von Eisenstein, facing eight days in jail, tells his wife Rosalinde that he is off to serve his time, but instead attends a lavish party. Rosalinde catches wind of this and attends the party herself. To further complicate things, a friend of Eisenstein’s is taken to jail in his place, Rosalinde has a lover, and her maid Adele is also attending the party, unbeknownst to Rosalinde.
Director and Sac State voice Professor Michael Sokol describes it as a typical French Farce story. “Die Fledermaus is popular around the world. It has been since it premiered,” he says.
To make it even more fun, Sokol and producer Claudia Kitka, also a voice professor at Sac State, looked for a way to modernize the context. “Since it takes place at a big party, we put it in a Studio 54 setting where lots of parties happened,” Sokol says.
In keeping with the theme, Sokol says California Stage was chosen as the venue because it has a club-type feel.
He’s also pleased with the talent in the cast, including the two female leads, Michelle Lajeunesse and Vanessa Martucci, who are both sophomores.
“The tunes in Die Fledermaus are quite possibly the most catchy tunes in opera, besides Carmen,” says Lajeunesse, who plays Rosalinde. “It’s so much fun.”
Martucci’s character, Adele, has been updated from a maid to Rosalinde’s personal assistant, who also wants to be an actor. Martucci herself has aspirations of continuing in opera after graduation. “I love the feeling of just being able to let go vocally,” she says. “It’s very liberating.”
Lajeunesse echoes that. “There is nothing more intense than opera.”
Tickets are $18 general admission and $12 for students and available at the University Ticket Office, (916) 278-4323 or www.tickets.com.
For more information on Sacramento State’s Music Department, visit www.csus.edu/music. For media assistance, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.