In Opera, School of Music

Two separate casts will deliver Strauss’s famed operetta to online audiences

In a year marked by change and upheaval, the phrase “the show must go on” feels especially fitting. This week, BYUArts! and the BYU School of Music will present four nights of “Die Fledermaus,” a beloved operetta premiered in 1874 by composer Johann Strauss Jr. The show will usher in a unique semester for musical performances at BYU.

Lush costumes, a brisk, lilting score and a sly tale of intrigue all contribute to the appeal of BYU’s Fall Opera. But behind the scenes, the production required a major shift in everyday logistics and safety measures to bring the show to life — including two separate casts.

After the initial read-throughs for cast members via Zoom, rehearsals were set up on a regular rotation. One cast would rehearse together live in the HFAC, while the other cast would observe online. Each cast will give two performances, which will be streamed live in real-time.

“It’s hard to sing in masks,” said graduate student Sarah Knight, who is playing the role of Prince Orlofsky. “It’s been a great experience though. We’ve received training in all sorts of new ways, and we know we can do it.”

Knight, who graduated from BYU Hawaii with a degree in vocal performance, was first asked to be an understudy before being offered the role by director Joshua Lindsay.

The experience has been both challenging and memorable for Knight. “Rehearsals were definitely a lot trickier,” she said. “It’s been interesting coming from a small campus to a large one, and to a theater that’s two to three times bigger than what I’m used to, but it was such an awesome space to work in.”

Despite the unusual circumstances, Knight believes the casts have become like family to each other. “I didn’t know anybody in the department before coming here to Provo, so I have loved working with everyone,” she said. “We just let go of our egos and play and have fun together; that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

Show Details:

  • September 23-26, 7:00 pm
  • Livestream only
  • Streaming info Direct Link
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