WHEN the Kennedy Center Opera House is teeming with snazzily dressed ladies and gents both in the audience and onstage, it's a fair bet that the Houston Ballet is in town with one of its opulently produced story ballets.
Such is the scene this weekend, when the company presents four performances of "Rosalinda," choreographer Ronald Hynd's danced interpretation of Johann Strauss' popular operetta "Die Fledermaus."
Premiered in l979 by PACT Ballet of South Africa and since performed by both the London Festival and the Houston, "Rosalinda" retains the basic premise of the opera while making significant changes in the scenario, score and period setting. Hynd tells the witty tale of revenge, intrigue and mistaken identities much more directly, and certainly more physically, eliminating several characters and turning Alfredo the seductive tenor into an equally seductive violinist.
Musical arranger John Lanchbery has turned all the vocal music over to the orchestra, has provided each of the characters with an identifying musical motif, and has added two familiar Strauss compositions -- the "Blue Danube" waltz and the "Thunder and Lightning" polka -- to the second act.
Finally, Hynd and designer Peter Docherty have set this late-19th-century work in 1920s Vienna, the result being a distinctly stylish production. HOUSTON BALLET --
"Rosalinda." Through Sunday in the Kennedy Center Opera House.