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"Die Fledermaus" Shakes Things Up at The Met

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Broadway is tackling opera with The Met's new staging of "Die Fledermaus". NY1's Frank DiLella filed the following report.

It's a spirited cocktail made up of artists from both the opera and theater worlds. Welcome to The Met's new production of "Die Fledermaus!"

Johann Strauss' operetta returns to The Metropolitan Opera with a bubbly, grand look and feel. The almost four hour work features a new libretto by theatre funny-man, playwright Douglas Carter Beane of Broadway's "Cinderella" and "Sister Act" fame.

With this version Beane says he's tried to clarify the farcical romp, and in doing that he even threw in some musical theater humor in the text.

"Yes we pick on absolutely everybody I can think of to pick on. No, it's not that bad," says Beane.

Under the direction of Broadway renaissance man Jeremy Sams this version features Susanna Phillips and Christopher Maltman opposite three familiar New York theater performers - Danny Burstein and Betsy Wolfe in non-singing roles - and opera star turned Tony winner Paulo Szot. Burstein plays jail warden Frosch, Wolfe portrays Ida, and Szot takes on the character of Dr. Falke. For Burstein, who was last seen on Broadway in "The Snow Geese" with Mary Louise Parker, "Die Fledermaus" marks new territory..

"Other people who played the role were Jack Gilford and Danny Kaye, Zero Mostel, and Bill Irwin and on and on. And for some crazy reason they offered it to me this year," says Burstein.

Last seen off-Broadway in the 2013 revival of Jason Robert Brown's "The Last Five Years", Betsy Wolfe is all comedy with Ida.

"One of the biggest challenges for me was actually when we got to this space, how to play to a space this size," recalls Wolfe.

And while Burstein and Wolfe may be newcomers to the opera world, Paulo Szot, who earned a Tony in 2008 for "South Pacific" is an opera veteran. He says "Die Fledermaus" is a celebration of his two worlds colliding.

"It is a gift, a great support for all of us, opera singers to have all these people with great talents," says Szot.

"Die Fledermaus" is playing at The Metropolitan Opera now through February 22.

For more information, visit www.metopera.org.

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