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Singspiel in three acts | Music by Ralph Benatzky and others

Ralph Benatzky

Performance 06/15/2019  |  Singspiel in drei Akten | Musik von Ralph Benatzky u. a. | Text von Hans Müller und Erik Charell nach dem Lustspiel (1898) von Oskar Blumenthal und Gustav Kadelburg  |  Spieldauer ca. 2 3/4 Stunden | Eine Pause

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Singspiel in three acts | Music by Ralph Benatzky and others | Text by Hans Müller and Erik Charell after the Lustspiel (1898) by Oskar Blumenthal and Gustav Kadelburg | Playing time ca. 2 3/4 hours | One intermission

The Wolfgangsee is a perfect shade of turquoise blue, the mountains a luscious green, and the sun a brilliant golden orb. The White Horse Inn guesthouse is the ideal location to lazily while away the days…or it would be, if only the guests and staff could keep from falling in love with one another. But who can catch up on their R&R with love afoot? Leopold, the headwaiter, is in love with Josepha Vogelhuber, the owner of the inn. She, however, is in love with Dr. Siedler, the lawyer, who, in turn, has fallen for Ottilie, the daughter of his archrival, Giesecke, a real Berliner who’s not one to suffer fools gladly. All of this at the height of the tourist season! And just when they think it can’t get any crazier, the Austrian Emperor shows up, and chaos ensues.

This Singspiel premiered in 1930 at the Berlin Schauspielhaus (known today as the Konzerthaus) and was an immediate hit. Although The White Horse Inn is often regarded as a schmaltzy, provincial operetta, it originated in Weimar-era Berlin, a city overflowing with chansons, revues and cabarets. “And the local flavor is, so to speak, syncopated by the international flair of the girls and boys, proving St. Wolfgang isn’t all that remote,” wrote one critic in a review of the world premiere, describing the operetta’s combination of folksy sentiment and quintessential Berlin jazz sound.

The libretto is based on Oskar Blumenthal and Gustav Kadelburg’s 1898 comedy of the same name, and was adapted by Erik Charell and Hanns Müller, who was at that time a star author. Robert Gilbert (best known as the composer of songs for over 60 operettas and 100 films), wrote the majority of the song texts, alongside Robert Stolz and Bruno Granichstaedten. Altogether, seven individuals worked to bring The White Horse Inn to the stage, collaborating in a way similar to that of Broadway. Erik Charell, already familiar in the Berlin theater scene, was responsible for the production. The White Horse Inn helped make him internationally famous.

For this production’s premiere in October 2014, Volker Vogel both directs and appears as Giesecke on stage. Alexander Mudlagk designs the set and costumes, and First Kapellmeister Tobias Engeli conducts.

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