Anthony Kearns, left, and Kara Shay Thomson practice their roles as Alfred and Rosalinde in “Die Fledermaus” on Tuesday at Perry Mansfield. They will perform the opera at Strings Music Pavilion at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Photo by Scott Franz

Anthony Kearns, left, and Kara Shay Thomson practice their roles as Alfred and Rosalinde in “Die Fledermaus” on Tuesday at Perry Mansfield. They will perform the opera at Strings Music Pavilion at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Emerald City Opera presents ‘Die Fledermaus’

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If you go

What: Emerald City Opera presents “Die Fledermaus”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, Pine Grove and Mount Werner roads

Cost: Tickets are $35 and available at EmeraldCityOpera.com

Contact: Call 970-879-1996

For More: A Diva Gala takes place after the show at Three Peaks Grill. Tickets are $40. Combined opera and gala tickets are $70. For a complete list of Opera Artist Institute performances in the coming week, visit www. emeraldcityopera.com.

Video

Emerald City Opera "Die Fledermaus" rehearsal

Emerald City Opera’s performers prepare for Thursday night’s “Die Fledermaus” performance.

Emerald City Opera’s performers prepare for Thursday night’s “Die Fledermaus” performance.

— As the rain cascaded down on the Louis Horst studio at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp on Tuesday, a host of operatic voices trilled with comedic inflection, drowning out the weather with waltz-themed drinking songs and lofty arias.

At the very heart of opera is absurdity, said Emerald City Opera chorus member Patrick Newell. But the absurdity of telling story through song also demonstrates an important reality.

“Through music, we’re able to address a whole new level of emotional content,” Newell said. “With words, you have the emotion that the actors bring into it, but with words and music, it’s a combination of what the actor brings to it and the emotion the composer had in mind.”

And as the principal characters in the opera’s production of “Die Fledermaus” rehearsed in the background, that melting pot of actor, composer and director was stirring up a light-hearted farce with contemporary relevance.

“Die Fledermaus” is Emerald City Opera’s ninth annual main stage production, taking place at 7 p.m. Thursday at Strings Music Pavilion. The show will feature prominent opera voices from around the country, including Emerald City Opera founder and soprano Keri Rusthoi.

Rusthoi, who plays the perky maid Adele, said “Die Fledermaus” is literally a ball: It’s all about champagne, parties and farcical comedic situations.

“What makes opera so apropos still today … is that it’s about real life,” Rusthoi said. “These things are still happening today. It’s about flirting with infidelity, old loves returning and it’s about parties and pranks. And it all turns out OK in the end.”

The show is centered on a prank war between two men, Falke and Eisenstein, when the former is trying to get back at the latter for a previous prank in which Falke was left in the center of town dressed as a bat (Die Fledermaus is German for “The Bat”). The stories of the two friends, their wives and lovers all intertwine at a ball filled with stolen identities, marital infidelity and champagne. And then there’s a timeless scene where the group wakes up in jail — surely with a headache — and has to sort out what happened.

“It’s basically a party where the champagne is flowing freely,” said Mark Thomsen, who plays Eisenstein. “And I do get what’s coming to me in the end.”

The Emerald City production, directed by David Malis, who plays Falke, will also have a few contemporary jokes. A 30-piece orchestra of local and national musicians, conducted by Adam Flatt, will accompany the production.

In its ninth year, the Emerald City Opera provides more than its annual main stage production.

Every year, several opera students from around the country come to study with professional singers at the Opera Artist Institute. Several of them appear in the chorus of “Die Fledermaus” and will perform their own staging of “Hansel and Gretel” at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Julie Harris Theatre.

Newell said that working with principal characters — like Anthony Kearns, one of the three internationally renown Irish Tenors who will play Alfred on Thursday ­— helps the young artists with more than just technical growth.

“A lot of the principals have worked together before, and what you see is them bringing a certain joy to it,” he said. “Because they know it so well, and you can see they really love what they do.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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