Die Fledermaus, Johann Strauss Jr.

Title Die Fledermaus
English Title The Bat
Composer Johann Strauss Jr.
Librettists Haffner and Genée. Libretto based on a play by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, Le Réveillon
Language French, Dutch translation available
Genre Light opera in three acts
First performance 5th April, 1874, Theater an der Wien, Vienna
Time of action About 1870
Place of action
  1. A living room
  2. A ball room
  3. Office of prison-governor
Main parts
  • Von Eisenstein, tenor or high baritone
  • Rosalinde, his wife, soprano
  • Frank, bass-baritone
  • Orlofsky, mezzo-soprano (trouser role)
  • Alfred, tenor
  • Falke, baritone
  • Adele, colorature-soprano
  • Frosch, spoken rôle
Prominence of chorus

The main task of the chorus is in act II, at Orlofsky’s ball. It also appears in the finale of act III. So its contribution is limited, but what it has to sing is of great beauty.

Orchestra 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, harp, timpani/percussion, strings
Special demands A good orchestra is essential. The parts of Rosalind (Csardas!) and Adele (coloratura passages) require trained voices.
Full score and orchestral parts Available
Level The chorus parts are not difficult, but the soloists’ are.
Length About 2½ hours

Die Fledermaus presents a wealth of melody and harmony unparalleled in light opera and is deservedly nicknamed the Queen of operettas. Many of its numbers, both orchestral and vocal, have achieved lasting popularity. It is a masterpiece of music.


A wealthy gentleman named Von Eisenstein is to serve a prison-sentence for contempt of the law. His friend Falke persuades him to attend a masked ball at the palace of the Russian prince Orlofsky on the eve of the day when he is due to report at the prison. After he has left home his wife Rosalind is visited by her former lover Alfred. Unfortunately, the governor of the prison has decided to go and fetch Eisenstein at his home and personally accompany him to prison. When he finds Rosalind in the company of Alfred, he assumes that the latter is Rosalind’s husband. In order to avoid a scandal Alfred decides to take Eisenstein’s place in prison. At the ball all the main persons (Alfred excepted) meet: Rosalind disguised as a Hungarian countess, the Eisensteins’ servant Adele dressed up in a gown of her lady’s, the Governor as Chevalier Chargrin and Eisenstein as Marquis De Renard. All this has been plotted by Falke in order to take revenge on Eisenstein, who once, after a masked ball, abandoned him in a public park dressed up as a bat. Eistenstein is furious when he finds out that his wife has received Alfred but is made to eat humble pie when she shows him the watch that the 'Hungarian countess' has tricked out of him at the Orlofsky ball. The amusing plot is derived from a play by Jacques Offenbach’s librettists Meilhac and Halévy.

Costumes Costumes for the chorus as guests at the ball, and servants
Link Wikipedia

< La Fille du Tambour-Major | Track | Gasparone >

Tags: Strauss | Knoppers