In Vienna, and all over the world, the New Year rings in with productions of Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” so how appropriate that Lyric Opera is reviving the company’s production of the popular operetta, which has only been done twice in the company’s history and both times taking a decidedly awkward and ineffective Anglo-American approach. The third time is the charm, however, as the current revival is a truly Viennese version that bubbles with as much sparkling effervescence as the champagne whose virtues are so celebrated in Strauss’ frothy concoction. Making a stellar Lyric debut, German coloratura Marlis Peterson, as the chambermaid Adele, has the audience eating out of her hand with her comedy before she sings a note but when she does, she fills the house to the rafters with glorious sound. Dashing Danish baritone Bo Skovhus makes a superb Eisenstein, really relishing in the comedic aspects of the role as well as convincingly hitting all of the role’s higher notes. Often threatening to steal the show is Bonaventura Bottone’s long-definitive Alfredo, perfectly riding the line between hammy tenor and flirt in his portrayal, yet never letting his performance go over the top. British mezzo-soprano Alice Corte makes a decidedly detached and brashly bored Orlofsky, exactly what this prince of trouser roles call for. Though adding some authenticity to her Act II deception by actually being a Hungarian, soprano Andrea Rost’s vocal treatment of Rosalinde does go over the top in that her high notes are consistently sharp and stick out in the ensembles like a sore thumb. Conducting from memory, Israeli conductor Asher Fisch has an obvious affinity for this music, though sometimes is left lagging behind. (Dennis Polkow)
“Die Fledermaus” plays at the Civic Opera House, Wacker Drive at Madison, (312)332-2244. Through January 27.