Saturday, May 31, 2008

Austin Lyric Opera presents "The Bat"

Right after my mom died, I chose to get season tickets to the Austin Lyric Opera partly to honor her memory. My mom loved opera. As a kid, I will have to say that opera music did not "grab" me - it seemed boring. With the season tickets, I found that watching opera live on stage is a very different experience than listening to opera on a record player at home. Opera singers can do amazing things with their voices - it is a very different style of singing. Most operas are written in European languages, but with the subtitles over the stage and the actors' movements, it is easy to understand what you are seeing.

Once we started our years of travel, I discontinued the season tickets. We were never in the right place at the right time. But yesterday, my daughter called. They had tickets for the performance of "The Bat" last night, but Jonathan did not feel like driving all the way into Austin. I had heard from one of my friends that this particular presentation was going to be fun . . . they had moved the setting of the opera into the present day. When I looked up "The Bat," I realized that this was going to be a lot of fun. Austin Lyric Opera had collaberated with Esther's Follies to produce a new version of Johann Strauss, Die Fledermaus. While I've never been to a performance by Esther's Follies, I knew they have been performing on 6th Street for years. The setting had moved from 18th century Vienna to modern day Austin. What an intriguing idea!

So . . . Debra and I went . . . the exciting tale of getting there is worthy of a blog entry on its own, but suffice it to say, she and I arrived at our seats at the exact moment that the orchestra began to play the overture. Then the fun began!

Having lived in Austin two thirds of my life, it was so much fun to hear the "in" jokes as the story unfolded. The lyricist did an incredible job creating English lyrics with modern jokes that worked so well with Strauss' music. My daughter and I would love to get a soundtrack of the music and lyrics.

"The Bat" is creative, funny, and unique. Be warned, it is modern sometimes rawkous humor, but I found it light and enjoyable. Austinites will recognize some of the characters portrayed at the party in the second act. Another innovative feature is the perfomances from local musicians during the party. Each day's performance will be unique as the the acts will be different for each show.

The link above to "The Bat" has a trailer that gives a great overview and background with stills from the production that will give you a taste of how cool this really is. While I suspect this will surface again, it really is a limited run - so you need to see it now.

For those of you with more money available there are before and after events that look like fun as well.

This is uniquely Austin at its best! Don't miss it!

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