LSU Opera Presents L’Opera Lagniappe “Strauss Meets Strauss” Nov. 21-22
BATON ROUGE – LSU Opera will present performances of its L’Opera Lagniappe “Strauss Meets Strauss” production Nov. 21-22 at 7:30 p.m. each evening in the Claude L. Shaver Theatre, located in the LSU Music & Dramatic Arts Building.
“Strauss Meets Strauss” will present works from two completely unrelated Strauss families. The first will be Richard Strauss’ “Prologue from Ariadne auf Naxos,” sung in German with English supertitles, and Act II of Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus.”
Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899) was known as the “Waltz King” and was responsible for the huge popularity of the waltz in Vienna in the 19th century. His most famous waltzes, “On the Beautiful Blue Danube,” “Tales from the Vienna Woods” and “Roses from the South,” are staples at every Viennese New Year’s celebration. He composed a number of operettas, “Die Fledermaus” being the most famous and frequently performed. Because Austria at the time was under Hapsburg rule as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Strauss’ operettas, “Die Fledermaus” included, had many references to Hungarian culture.
In LSU Opera’s performances of Act II, the group will be using the New Strauss Edition as its musical starting point, and will include a portion of the ballet music written by Strauss specifically for the operetta and rarely performed, as well as the extremely witty translation of Ted and Deena Puffer.
Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949) was a leading composer of the late Romantic and early Modern eras and is best known for his orchestral tone-poems and operas. While composing the waltzes for his opera, “Der Rosenkavalier,” Richard Strauss is said to have remarked about the “other” Strauss, “How could I forget the laughing genius of Vienna?”
LSU Opera will be performing, in the original German, the prologue to another of his operas, “Ariadne auf Naxos.” A brilliantly conceived plot centers on an anxious composer who is to have his newly commissioned opera performed that evening for the eccentric benefactor, the “richest man in Vienna,” who commissioned it. Following the performance is to be a rather “lower-class” comedic burlesque troupe. But, because dinner is running late and the benefactor has scheduled fireworks to be set off promptly at 9 p.m., he has decided that the two pieces be performed simultaneously and on the same stage, which sets everyone on edge and provides for many hilarious exchanges. This prologue was written specifically for the second “revised” version of 1916.
The production team includes Director Dugg McDonough; Associate Professor & Artistic Director of LSU Opera Mary Barrett Fruehan; Conductor Michael Borowitz, a noted pianist, music director and LSU assistant professor & opera coach; and Mary Bayle, who currently holds the Turner Fisher Fellowship for Opera Management and Outreach in LSU Opera Production. All roles are cast by audition only and performed by highly talented graduate and undergraduate LSU students.
As one of the only opera companies in Baton Rouge, LSU Opera serves a diverse audience and occupies a unique position within the city’s culture. LSU Opera’s programming serves students, faculty and staff at LSU, Baton Rouge-area residents and the public schools of East Baton Rouge Parish and beyond.
The mission of LSU Opera is to produce a season that offers both standard classics of the opera repertoire along with compelling lesser-known masterpieces that strengthen young artists training in this challenging art form. Annually, LSU Opera presents two fully produced operas, two smaller opera programs known as L’Opera Lagniappe and the LSU Opera Outreach Program, known as LOOP.
Tickets range from $20 for general seating, $15 for faculty and staff and $12 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.music.lsu.edu or by calling the box office at 225-578-5128
For more information on LSU Opera, visit www.music.lsu.edu, or contact Ronette Boshea at 225-578-3925 or Mary Bayle at 225-578-4068.