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Bienen School Stages 'Die Fledermaus'

Strauss operetta runs Feb. 23-26, Amber Wagner to perform Ives songs March 7

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Die Fledermaus,” a “bubbly” operetta composed by Johann Strauss Jr. and a recital featuring guest soprano Amber Wagner and voice and opera students, comprise the winter opera offerings at Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

Both events are open to the public and will take place on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, as noted.

• Northwestern University Opera Theater will present Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” (“The Bat”) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 25, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, in Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St.

This new production of Strauss’ most famous operetta is updated to the Art Deco 1930s and sung in English. The lighthearted work tells the story of the revenge taken by Dr. Falke on the wealthy Gabriel von Eisenstein for playing a practical joke. Mistaken identities, disguises and madcap romantic escapades fueled by an abundance of champagne combine with Strauss’ spirited melodies and a libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genee.

“Die Fledermaus” will be directed by Bienen School Director of Opera Michael M. Ehrman. Ehrman has staged more than 150 opera productions for Houston Grand Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and other companies. Ehrman has directed soprano Renee Fleming, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and soprano Susanna Phillips. A frequent guest director and teacher at universities and singer training programs at Yale University, New England Conservatory of Music and Indiana University, Ehrman is the former director of opera at Roosevelt University and co-founder and artistic director of the Opera Training Institute of Chicago.

The orchestra will be conducted by Willie Anthony Waters, a regular guest of opera companies throughout the world. For 12 years, Waters served as general and artistic director of the Connecticut Opera, and for seven seasons as artistic director and principal conductor of the Florida Grand Opera. Choreographer Marla Lampert’s work has been performed at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace and the Ravinia Festival.

• Guest soprano Amber Wagner, piano accompanist Alan Darling and Bienen School voice and opera students will perform during “Putting Ives in Context,” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, in Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place. Wagner recently starred in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of “Ariadne auf Naxos” and made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Anna in Verdi’s “Nabucco.” The Northwestern program will explore the songs of 20th-century American composer Charles Ives, contrasted and juxtaposed with works by Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Britten and others. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $6 for students.

Ticket prices are indicated in two ranges: the first for the general public and the second for full-time students with valid IDs. Northwestern faculty and staff with a valid WildCARD receive a 15 percent discount off the general public ticket price.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit the Pick-Staiger website at To order tickets, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000 or visit
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