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Release: Nov. 15, 2002

'Orlofsky's Ball' will benefit UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater

Prince Orlofsky -- famed as the most lavish host in all Vienna -- is helping the University of Iowa Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater with a gala benefit ball, to be presented at
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Orlofsky is actually a character from Johann Strauss’ popular operetta “Die Fledermaus” (The bat), and “Orlofsky’s Ball” will in reality be a concert performance of “Die Fledermaus,” with a cast of UI opera students, the University Chamber Orchestra and conductor William LaRue Jones. It will be performed in an English version prepared by Shari Rhoads, vocal coach of the opera theater.

In a grand Viennese tradition, the operetta’s second act -- a lavish masked ball at Orlofsky’s fabulous estate -- will offer a few surprises, for the entertainment of the guests both on-stage and in the audience.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to support future productions of the Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater.

The intricate plot of “Fledermaus” is almost too complicated to explain -- and almost irrelevant to the audience’s enjoyment of the quick-moving comedy and Strauss’ sparkling music. The “Bat” of the title refers to an event that happened long before the operetta begins: Dr. Falke was once embarrassed by the operetta’s main character, Eisenstein, while wearing a bat costume for a fancy dress ball.

To get his revenge, the one-time bat arranges an elaborate ruse to lure Eisenstein into a compromising situation. It seems that Eisenstein has been sentenced to two weeks in prison for kicking a tax collector. Falke persuades Eisenstein to stop off on his way to jail at a lavish party to be hosted by that mad Russian prince, Orlofsky.

In the meantime, Eisenstein’s wife, Rosalinde, entertains her former lover, Alfred, with an unconvincing show of reluctance. Having heard about the husband’s jail sentence, Alfred settles down for a cozy supper wearing Eisenstein’s dressing gown -- until the jail warden shows up to escort Eisenstein to jail! Caught in an awkward situation, Alfred chivalrously pretends to be the guilty man, to protect Rosalinde’s reputation.

While Alfred spends the night in jail, the party at Orlofsky’s estate proceeds with Falke, Eisenstein, the jail warden and Eisenstein’s maid servant in attendance. When Eisenstein ardently pursues a mysterious Hungarian countess -- actually his wife in disguise -- the deceptions and complications escalate. The next morning finds all the major characters at the jail, where the champagne haze gradually wears off and the operetta reaches its hilarious conclusion.

The cast of UI opera students will feature Dennis Whilhoit as Eisenstein, Sarah Amanda Hyberger as Rosalinde, Tara Warfield as the maid, Quiliano Anderson as Alfred, Ryan Bernemann as Eisenstein's lawyer, Dr. Blind, David Playfair as Dr. Falke, Edward Corpus as the jail warden, and Ann Cravero as Prince Orlofsky.

Staging is by John Muriello from the UI voice faculty. Musical preparation and vocal coaching are by Shari Rhoads.

Tickets to the benefit performance “Orlofsky’s Ball” are $25 for adults, $15 for UI students, children under 17 and seniors. Patron tickets at $50 will include special concert seating and an invitation to the “Afterglow Party” with the cast on stage after the performance, featuring refreshments and a vocal quartet singing selected “Liebeslieder” Waltzes.

Tickets are available through the Hancher Auditorium box office. Box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher’s website:< http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher >.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information may be requested by e-mail: <hancherboxoffice@uiowa.edu>.

The School of Music and Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater are part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <ur-acr@uiowa.edu>.