The Fledermaus The Bat

In three Acts by MEILHAC and HALEVY.


The Fledermaus is the famous Viennese Waltz King's best operetta. The

charming music is so well known, that only the libretto needs to be

explained, because of its rather complicated plot.

A serenade which is listened to by Adele Rosalind Eisenstein's maid,

but is intended for her mistress, begins the first act. Adele has just

received an invitation from her sister Ida to a grand entertainment to

be given by a Russian prince, Orlofsky by name. She is longing

to accept it, and attempts to get leave of absence for the evening from

her mistress, when the latter enters, by telling her that an aunt if

hers is ill, and wishes to see her. Rosalind, however, refuses to let

Adele go out, and the maid disappears pouting. While Rosalind is

alone, her former singing master and admirer Alfred, suddenly turns up.

He it was who had been serenading her, and Rosalind, succumbing to her

old weakness for tenors, promises to let Alfred return later, when her

husband is not at home. Herr Eisenstein, a banker, has just been

sentenced to five days' imprisonment, a misfortune which his hot temper

has brought upon him. The sentence has been prolonged to eight days

through the stupidity of his lawyer, Dr. Blind, who follows Eisenstein

on to the stage. The banker finally turns Dr. Blind out of the house,

after upbraiding him violently.--Rosalind tries to console Eisenstein,

and finally decides to see what a good supper will do towards soothing

his ruffled spirits. While she is thus occupied Eisenstein's friend

Dr. Falck appears, bringing his unlucky friend an invitation to an

elegant soiree which Prince Orlofsky is about to give.--Eisenstein is

quite ready to enjoy himself before going to prison, and when Rosalind

reenters, she finds her husband in excellent spirits. He does not,

however partake of the delicious supper she sets before him, with any

great zest. But he takes a tender, although almost joyful leave of his

wife, after donning his best dress suit. Rosalind then gives

Adele leave to go out, much to the maid's surprise. After Adele has

gone, Alfred again puts in an appearance. Rosalind only wishes to hear

him sing again, and is both shocked and frightened, when Alfred goes

into Herr Eisenstein's dressing room, and, returns clad in the banker's

dressing gown and cap. The tenor then proceeds to partake of what is

left of the supper, and makes himself altogether at home. But a sudden

ring at the door announces the arrival of Franck, the governor of the

prison, who has come with a cab to fetch Eisenstein. Rosalind is so

terrified at being found tete a tete with Alfred, that she introduces

him as her husband. After a tender farewell, Alfred good-naturedly

follows the governor to prison.

The second act opens in the garden of a cafe, where the guests of

Prince Orlofsky are assembled. Adele enters, dressed in her mistress's

best gown, and looking very smart. Eisenstein, who is also present, at

once recognizes her, as well as his wife's finery. But Adele and the

whole party pretend to be very indignant at his mistaking a fine lady

for a maid. Prince Orlofsky proceeds to make Eisenstein most

uncomfortable, by telling him that Dr. Falck has promised to afford him

great amusement, by playing some practical joke at Eisenstein's

expense. The last guest who enters is Rosalind, whom nobody

recognizes, because she is masked. Dr. Falck introduces her as a

Hungarian countess who has consented to be present at the soiree only

on condition that her incognito be respected. She catches just a

glimpse of Eisenstein, who is flirting violently with Adele instead of

being in prison, and determines to punish him. Noticing the

magnificent attire and fine form of the supposed countess, Eisenstein

at once devotes himself to the new comer. He even counts her heart

beats with the aid of a watch which he keeps for that purpose, without,

however, giving it away as he always promises to do. But Rosalind

suddenly takes possession of the watch, and slips away with it.--The

whole party finally assembles at supper, where Eisenstein becomes very

jovial, and tells how he once attended a masquerade ball with his

friend Falck, who was disguised as a bat. Eisenstein, it appears,

induced his friend to drink so heavily, that he fell asleep in the

street, where Eisenstein left him. Falck did not wake up till morning,

when he had to go home amid the jeers of a street crowd, by whom he was

nicknamed "Dr. Fledermaus".--Eisenstein's story creates much amusement,

but Dr. Falck only smiles, saying, he who laughs last, laughs best.

After a champagne supper and some dancing, Eisenstein remembers, when

the clock strikes six, that he ought to be in prison. Both he and Dr.

Franck take a merry leave of the boisterous party.

The third act begins with Franck's return to his own room, where he is

received by the jailer.--Frosch has taken advantage of his master's

absence to get drunk, while Franck himself has likewise become

somewhat intoxicated. He grows drowsy while recalling the incidents of

Prince Orlofsky's fete, and finally falls fast asleep.--

Adele and her sister Ida interrupt his slumbers, in order to ask the

supposed marquis to use his influence in the former's behalf. Adele

confesses that she is in reality a lady's maid, but tries to convince

Franck, the supposed marquis, and her sister (who is a ballet dancer),

of her talents by showing them what she can do in that line.--A loud

ring soon puts an end to the performance While the jailer conducts

Adele and Ida to No. 13, Eisenstein arrives and gives himself up.

Franck and he are much surprised to find themselves face to face with

each other in prison, after each had been led to suppose the other a

marquis, at the fete. They are naturally much amused to learn each

other's identity. Meanwhile Dr. Blind enters, to undertake the defense

of the impostor Eisenstein. He turns out to be the genuine Eisenstein,

who again turns Blind out of door, and possesses himself of his cap and

gown and of his spectacles, in which he interviews his double.--Alfred

has been brought in from his cell, when Rosalind also enters, carrying

her husband's watch, and prepared for revenge. Both Alfred and she

alternately state their grievances to the supposed lawyer, who quite

loses his temper, when he learns of Alfred's tete a tete with his wife,

and how completely she has fooled him. Throwing off his disguise, he

reveals his identity, only to be reviled by his wife for his

treachery. He in turn vows to revenge himself on Rosalind and on her

admirer, but the entrance of Dr. Falck, followed by all the guests who

were at Prince Orlofsky's fete, clears up matters for all concerned.

While making fun of the discomfited Eisenstein, he explains that the

whole thing is a huge practical joke of his invention which he has

played on Eisenstein in return for the trick Eisenstein played on him

years ago, which he related at the fete. All the guests had been

bidden to the fete by Dr. Falck with the consent of the prince in order

to deceive Eisenstein. The latter, when convinced of his wife's

innocence, embraces her. All toast one another in champagne, which

they declare to be the King of Wines.

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