Together, they recall a practical joke which Eisenstein played on Falke a few years ago, for which Falke is secretly planning a light-hearted revenge in kind. Frank, the governor of the prison, arrives to take Eisenstein to jail, and finds Alfred instead. In order not to compromise Rosalinde, Alfred agrees to pretend to be Eisenstein and to accompany Frank. Some time before, after a costume-party, Eisenstein had abandoned Falke, very drunk and dressed in a bat-costume, in the center of town, exposing him to ridicule the next day. As part of his scheme, Falke has invited Frank, Adele, and Rosalinde to come the ball, all concealing their identities as well. Eisenstein is introduced to Adele, but is confused as to who she really is because of her striking resemblance to his maid.
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Rosalinde von Eisenstein, a Viennese lady soprano Gabriel von Eisenstein, her husband tenor Adele, a chambermaid soprano Alfred, an Italian opera singer tenor Dr. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. The chambermaid Adele enters reading a letter from her sister Ida, a ballet dancer. The letter urges Adele to make up a story so she can get the night off and come to the ball being held at the villa of Prince Orlofsky, a wealthy, decadent young Russian nobleman.
Adele laments her status as a chambermaid but resolves to go. She realizes that Alfred is a secret admirer of her mistress and runs after him to see if she can discover his identity. Rosalinde appears, amazed that Alfred has returned. Adele exits weeping. Alfred appears and begins to woo Rosalinde. She manages to get him to leave by promising to see him later that night after her husband has left for jail. Blind promises to appeal, but Gabriel throws him out. Gabriel and Adele dance out of the room.
Rosalinde, left alone, doubts the wisdom of receiving Alfred, who soon appears. Everyone is having a wonderful time at the ball. Ida is surprised to see her sister Adele and denies having written the letter telling her to come to the ball. Falke assures him that tonight he will laugh, as Falke has planned a little comedy entitled The Revenge of the Bat, to amuse him.
The girls excitedly rush off to gamble. Falke then takes the Prince aside and asks him to distract Gabriel while Falke writes a note to Rosalinde informing her where her husband is and what he is doing. Adele and Ida return from the gaming room, having lost all their money.
Gabriel is flabbergasted to see his chambermaid at the ball. Ida asks when dinner will be served, and Falke replies that they are waiting for another guest, a mysterious Hungarian countess who will have to remain masked to protect her identity. The guests decide to stroll in the garden while awaiting the arrival of the mystery lady, leaving Falke alone in the ballroom. Rosalinde enters, masked, and asks Falke if what he had written to her is true.
He shows her Gabriel in the garden flirting with Adele, and she swears vengeance. This ploy—promising to give the lady his watch in return for her favours but never delivering, even when she does—has always worked for him. Orlofsky defends her, telling them that in his house a lady may cover or uncover as much as she wishes. Ida then asks Dr.
Falke to tell them the story of the bat, as he had promised. Gabriel protests that he should tell the story, as it was his joke on Falke.
He then tells the guests how three years before, he and Falke had gone to a costume ball dressed, respectively, as a butterfly and a bat. On the way home, Gabriel got Falke drunk and left him asleep in the park in his bat costume.
The next day Falke had to walk home in his costume, and ever since, everyone in town has called him the Batty Doctor. Orlofsky calls for champagne. But the clock is striking six, and Gabriel and Frank are due at jail. They rush off drunkenly as the waltz continues. Act III The prison. Frosch, the jailer, enters. His pleasant state of intoxication is interrupted by Alfred singing in his prison cell. Adele and Ida arrive. The bell rings. Frank confesses that he is no chevalier but instead is the director of the prison.
Gabriel then confesses that he is no marquis but is Herr von Eisenstein, who has come to serve his short jail term. Frank refuses to believe him, as he himself arrested Herr von Eisenstein the evening before, while he was at home, dining with his wife.
This revelation sobers Gabriel completely. Frosch enters to tell Frank that there is another lady at the door. Frank exits to see who this mystery lady is, and the bell rings again. Frosch comes back in with Dr.
Frosch tells Blind he will bring Gabriel from his cell. Blind is understandably confused, as he can see Gabriel already there. Gabriel robs Blind of his wig, spectacles, and robe and pushes him off. Frosch brings in Alfred, who is annoyed to see no one there. Rosalinde enters, distraught. Alfred tells her that perhaps the lawyer he has sent for can help them. Gabriel returns disguised as Blind. Rosalinde counters his insinuation that she has been unfaithful by producing his watch.
Falke appears with Prince Orlofsky and all the party guests. The whole situation was a joke: The Revenge of the Bat. Everyone confesses that they were in on the joke, even if they were not!
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