MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — The Western Plains Opera will perform the comedy operetta “Die Fledermaus” (The Bat) by Johann Strauss on Friday, Sept. 9, and Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, located on Minot State’s Campus.

“This is our wonderful return after a two-year hiatus to the pandemic,” said DeVera Bowles, Minot State professor of voice, costume designer, and WPO’s co-general director. “This is a comedy with a chorus and a party and dance. We wanted to give everybody a chance to laugh. It’s clever. Most cast members will be familiar to audiences, especially David Cangelosi, who was featured in our March fundraiser.”

Performed in English, the scene opens when Eisenstein (tenor Cangelosi) is going to jail for punching a police officer.

His bumbling lawyer Blind (tenor Royce Brown) has made matters worse. However, his long-time friend Dr. Falke (Phil Zawisza) comes calling and convinces Eisenstein to avoid jail for one night to attend a lavish party thrown by Prince Orlofsky (mezzo-soprano Kathryn Krasovec).

Falke and Eisenstein had gone to a costume party when they were younger men.

After the party, Eisenstein abandoned the tipsy Fale, who awakened the next morning in the middle of the town square still wearing his bat costume.

Years have passed and Falke is going to get his revenge at the prince’s party.

Hilarity ensues, as Falke has also invited Eisenstein’s wife, Rosalinda (soprano Kari Puludan) to appear in disguise, and Adele (soprano Megan Klebe), their chambermaid, is coming too, wearing one of Rosalinda’s fine gowns.

Adele’s sister, Ida (soprano Ashlyn Gibbs), will be there as well.

Act One is further complicated by the unexpected appearance of Rosalinda’s former suitor, the opera singer Alfred, sung by MSU alumnus Nathan Bowles.

He’s wearing Eisenstein’s robe when jail warden Franke (Elias Mokole) arrives to collect Eisenstein.

You’ll have to see what happens next.

“There are hints of impropriety and lots of shenanigans — people laughed 200 years ago; they laughed 100 years ago, and they still laugh today,” said Bowles.

The cast and orchestra are made up of professionals from around the country, Minot State alumni, and current MSU students, and feature the Rinat Mouzafarov Institute of Ballet.

“It’s remarkable for a community of this size to have a regional opera company, and we are grateful for support from Minot State, the Minot Area Council of the Arts, the North Dakota Council of the Arts, and local business and private patrons,” said Bowles. “The opportunity for our music majors is amazing; to connect with guest artists and play or sing a full opera or musical theater production. Guest artists enjoy Minot; they return because they are dedicated educators as well as performers. There’s a wonderful energy and joy in creating and sharing.”

The operetta is conducted by WPO’s Co-General Director Maestro Efrain Amaya, Minot State associate professor of composition and theory, with University of Utah’s Professor Julie Wright Costa as visiting stage director.

“Julie Wright Costa is golden; absolutely phenomenal with everybody, whether they’ve had no stage experience or lots of stage experience,” said Bowles.

Tickets for the event range from $25 to $35 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at the Western Plains Opera website.

Minot State students can attend the performance for free by reaching out to Aaron Hughes, student activities coordinator.