Die Fledermaus

Approximate Running Time: Three hours 17 minutes, with 2 intermissions

In English with English captions

What's Going On?

Set in Vienna, in a time of waltzes and champagne

Rosalinde has two men in her life, her husband Gabriel von Eisenstein and a local tenor Alfred. Rosalinde has resisted Alfred’s recent attempts to woo her, although she finds him appealing.

One day, Rosalinde’s husband arrives home in a fury, because he’s lost a court case and has been sentenced to two weeks in jail. Eisenstein’s friend Falke takes him aside and persuades him to attend a masquerade ball at Prince Orlofsky’s palace that night. Falke says that Eisenstein can flirt and drink champagne before he reports to jail to serve out his sentence. Unbeknownst to Eisenstein, Falke wants to embarrass Eisenstein for once leaving him asleep on a park bench, wearing a bat costume, after a similar party.

Rosalinde has a delicious supper prepared for Eisenstein’s last night of freedom, but he tells her that he doesn’t want to spoil his appetite for jail. Puzzled by her husband’s formal evening attire, the still unsuspecting Rosalinde kisses him goodbye. As soon as Eisenstein leaves, Rosalinde receives a box and a message from Falke. Inside the box is a Hungarian Countess costume. Falke’s note reveals that Eisenstein has not gone to jail but is headed out to a party! The furious Rosalinde invites Alfred to supper and tells him to dress from her husband’s wardrobe for the occasion. But the pair are surprised during their intimate supper by the warden Frank, who has come to take Eisenstein to prison. To preserve her reputation, Rosalinde persuades Alfred to pretend to be her husband. Alfred allows himself to be arrested and taken off to jail.

Falke has encouraged Rosalinde’s maid Adele into attending the party in one of Rosalinde’s best gowns. Rosalinde arrives at the party, disguised as a Hungarian Countess. She soon notices her husband flirting with her chambermaid. The champagne flows, and everyone drinks at the Prince’s command. Prince Orlofsky wants his guests to have a good time, even though he is so world-weary that he rarely laughs. The increasingly befuddled Eisenstein ends up romancing the dashing Hungarian Countess. The disguised Rosalinde steals Eisenstein’s pocket watch as proof of his flirtations.

At dawn, Eisenstein staggers to the prison to meet his lawyer and begin his sentence, but he finds his cell already occupied by a “Gabriel von Eisenstein,” suspiciously dressed in Eisenstein’s own clothes! Alfred has been amusing himself by singing all night, much to the consternation of the jailer Frosch.

Eisenstein dons his lawyer’s legal robes and wig to quiz Alfred about his real identity. Rosalinde arrives to bail out Alfred. She tells the “lawyer” in Alfred’s cell about her troubles, including her fear that her husband will find out about the supper that she had with Alfred. Shocked, Eisenstein removes his disguise and confronts his wife. Rosalinde promptly displays his pocket watch as evidence of his own flirtation with the “Countess” at Orlofsky’s party. Falke, Orlofsky, and the rest of the guests arrive at the jail to see the end of Falke’s joke. Orlofsky even manages a laugh and persuades Falke that his revenge is now complete. Rosalinde and Eisenstein forgive each other. Everyone drinks a final toast to the delights of drinking champagne!

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