New Philharmonic Presents ‘Die Fledermaus’ at the MAC Jan. 26-27

die flederamaus

By Ann Fink

New Philharmonic, under the direction of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, opens 2019 with Johann Strauss II’s “Die Fledermaus,” libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genee, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26 and 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27 at the McAninch Arts Center, located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage. The operetta, staged by Michael La Tour, will be sung in English. A free MAC Chat will take place one hour prior to each performance.

It is New Year’s Eve and Gabriel von Eisenstein is being forced to go to jail for punching a police officer, but he wants to evade jail for one night so he can go to Prince Orlofsky’s lavish party with his friend Dr. Falke. Eisenstein informs his wife, Rosalinde, that he is heading off to jail, but Rosalinde knows he is lying, and follows him to the ball, disguised as a Hungarian countess. At the ball, Eisenstein attempts to seduce his own wife without knowing. Additional mistaken identities, flirtations, intrigues, and jealous confrontations ensue, but eventually, the great farce ends up with a happy ending for all.

“Die Fledermaus” stars Chicago’s Katherine R. Weber as Rosalinde and fellow Chicagoan Jesse Donner as Eisenstein. Other members of the cast include Mikaela Schneider (Adele), Ashley Sipka (Prince Orlofsky), Brittany Hebel (Ida), Matthew Greenblatt (Dr. Blind), Sam Handley (Mr. Frank), Michael La Tour (Frosch), James Judd (Alfred) and Aaron Wardell (Dr. Falke).

Described as “a confident singing actress with a magnetic stage presence” by Opera News, Weber is a rising star in the Chicago opera scene. She made her MAC debut in the 2017-2018 season as Violetta in “La Traviata” having played the same role in her debut with Boulder Symphony. She made her Chicago Opera Theater debut to great critical acclaim in November as the titular character in “Lolanta.” Weber was a featured soloist with the Winona Oratorio Chorus and Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s “Mass in C,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and Mozart’s “Requiem.” She also covered Nedda in Virginia Opera’s performance of “Pagliacci” and was a regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2015 and 2017.

A resident artist at Lyric Opera of Chicago from 2014-2017, Donner has already distinguished himself on the operatic and concert stage with what the Chicago Tribune calls his “fresh and juicy” voice. In the 2018-2019 season, he will be performing with the Louisville Orchestra as a soloist in Mozart’s “Requiem” and Handel’s “Messiah.” He will also perform with Chicago Philharmonic as part of its Concert for Peace. He made his MAC debut as guest soloist in New Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve 2016 concerts.

La Tour (stage direction) has worked professionally as an actor, singer, dancer, mime, clown, designer, choreographer, director and producer. He is on staff at The Ryan Opera Center of The Lyric Opera of Chicago as a master teacher and stage director (“The Magic Flute,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “La Traviata,” “Die Fledermaus,” “Romeo et Juliette”). His most recent work seen by MAC patrons was New Philharmonic’s 2017 sold-out production of “The Mikado.” Other directing credits include Kentucky Opera (“La Boheme,” “Carmen,” “Romeo et Juliette”) and Opera Moda (“Tartuffe,” “Little Women,” “A Month in the Country”). With Peter Amster, he has co-directed and choreographed “Side By Side By Sondheim” for Pegasus Players, “M. Butterfly” for Apple Tree Theatre (After Dark Award for choreography) and the grand opening of The Harris Theater in Millennium Park. 

Tickets to New Philharmonic’s “Die Fledermaus” are $59. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call the MAC Box office at (630) 942-4000, or visit www.atthemac.org.

This concert is sponsored by WFMT 98.7 FM.

New Philharmonic, the only professional orchestra based in DuPage County, Ill., has inspired classical music enthusiasts in Chicago and the suburbs for more than 40 years. It continues to thrive with the goal to give innovative treatment to both classic compositions and modern works while striving to make the music accessible to new audiences and youth through a variety of educational efforts. The orchestra was recently honored with the Illinois Council of Orchestras’ 2017 ICO Award for Professional Orchestra of the Year.

Today, under the direction of Kirk Muspratt, recently named 2018 Conductor of the Year (Professional Orchestra) by Illinois Council of Orchestras, New Philharmonic consists of more than 60 professional musicians and performs more than a dozen concerts a year, reaching more than 7,500 from the greater Chicago area annually. Remaining performances for the 2018-2019 Season include a concert featuring pianist Winston Choi (April 13-14).

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