YORK Opera productions are always a highlight of the York concert scene and this performance of the ever-popular Die Fledermaus, guided by musical director Derek Chivers and stage director Lucy Thomson-Smith is no exception.

The Overture is a delight: exuberant, lively and full of great tunes, which the orchestra clearly relished as much as we did. Act One opens with a persistent appearance of the tenor with a seductive upper register (no less), Alfred, sung by an impressive Andrew Powis. His duet with Jasmine Caine (Adele) is very good indeed.

However, it is the farcical trio featuring Hamish Brown (Eisenstein), Ione Cumming (Rosalinde) and the hapless lawyer, Dr Blind (Stephen Wilson) that really takes off. Then enter the bat, the ever-dependable Ian Thomson-Smith (Dr Falke), whose confidently swaggering duet with Mr Brown is great fun. Act Two moves from the Eisensteins' villa to a salon in Prince Orlofsky’s villa and the masked ball with all the usual flirtatious behaviour of mistaken identities, frivolity and confusion.

The visual setting and costumes are stunning, courtesy of John Soper, Ollie Nash and Maggie Soper, and the singing of the chorus is impressive. Amy Lynch (Count Orlofsky) produces a credible Russian accent and an even better aria solo with a quirky and nicely shaped vocal delivery. There are fine contributions from Ms Cumming (Homeland), Mr Thomson-Smith (Brother Mine) and a splendid chorus finale and the highlight is Ms Caine’s Laughing Song with lovely pizzicato peals of laughter.

Act Three moves from the mayhem at the ball to another at Frank’s Prison. The problem with the third act in general is that there simply isn’t enough music. To be sure, the comic timing of the prison warder (Anthony Gardner) and Clive Marshall (his assistant) is very funny indeed, but the general spoken narrative has to be quicker, zippier, or else it can drag.

The soloists, chorus and orchestra are very good indeed, and I suspect the performance will grow even better still as the run continues. But a final word for Ione Cumming who brings a degree of class and musical depth to her role as Rosalinde.