Klassik  Operette
Seefestspiele Mörbisch & Rudolf Bibl & Harald Serafin Ralph Benatzky: Im Weißen Rössl OC 715 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberOC 715
Release date03/06/2008
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Benatzky, Ralph

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      Mathias Hausmann · Ingeborg Schöpf · Marco Jentzsch
      Klaus-Dieter Lerche · Anja-Katherina Wigger
      Serge Falck · Ina Nadine Wagler · Albert Rueprecht
      Rafael Schuchter · Gerhard Rak · Markus Puchberger
      Harald Serafin (Sprecher Zwischentexte)
      Festival Orchestra Mörbisch
      Rudolf Bibl, Dirigent

      After the  Mörbisch anniversary with Johann Strauss’ last operetta Wiener Blut, the great operetta festival is now turning a new leaf: with Benatzky’s successful work Im weissen Rössl, we are squarely in the th century (premiere ). In only a very few months, Benatzky wrote one of the most successful operettas of all time, although he included contributions by other composers which became immortalized in the work: the dashing song in the contemporary Berlin accent “Was kann der Sigismund dafür, dass er so schön ist” (“What can Sigismund do about the fact that he’s so handsome”) is from Robert Gilbert; the tear-stained waltz “Zuschaun kann i net” (“I can’t bear to watch”) is from Bruno Granichstaedten. The delicately rhythmic slow foxtrot “Die Ganze Welt ist Himmelblau” (“The whole world is blue as the heavens”) and the dulcet three-quarter-time hymn “Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein” (“My love song must be a waltz”) is from the pen of Robert Stolz.

      Im Weißen Rössl
      Operette in drei Akten
      von Ralph Benatzky

      Leopold Brandmeyer, Zahlkellner   Mathias Hausmann
      Josepha Vogelhuber, Rösslwirtin   Ingeborg Schöpf
      Dr. Otto Siedler, Rechtsanwalt   Marco Jentzsch
      Wilhelm Giesecke, Berliner Fabrikant   Klaus-Dieter Lerche
      Ottilie, seine Tochter   Anja-Katharina Wigger
      Sigismund Sülzheimer   Serge Falck
      Klärchen, seine Tochter   Ina Nadine Wagler
      Kaiser Franz Joseph II   Albert Rueprecht
      Piccolo   Rafael Schuchter
      Ausrufer   Gerhard Rak
      Fremdenführer   Markus Puchberger
      Sprecher Zwischentexte   Harald Serafin

      Festival Orchestra Mörbisch · Mörbisch Festival Choir
      Rudolf Bibl, conductor

      Bernhard Schneider, choirmaster

      Perfect example of the “Austrian way of life”:
      Ralph Benatzky’s Im Weissen Rössl

      For over 110 years, there’s one hotel and restaurant near Wolfgangsee in Austria that (almost) doesn’t need to worry about its popularity. The “Weisses Rössl”, a traditional inn founded in 1878 in the Salzkammergut resort area, had already been discovered by the end of the 19th century as a showplace for comedy. In 1930, it became the ultimate embodiment of the “Austrian way of life” – thanks to operetta. According to all relevant sources, the creators of the original time-transcending Austria-myth were both typical scions of the Habsburg multinational country and “Piefkes” [Austrian insult for North Germans]: the author-duo Oskar Blumenthal and Gustav Kadelburg – a Prussian-Jewish-Hungarian alliance –, who had written the comedy that inspired the later operetta during their 1896 stay in St. Wolfgang. As legend goes, it was based on a true incident. An old Berlin farce, it made the most of the differences between the two mentalities – here North German, there Austrian – which butted up against each other in the age of early mass tourism. The Berlin metropolitan public was particularly taken by the exotic flair that emanated from such a summer resort; this is what primarily contributed to the long-lasting success of the piece, which premiered in 1898.

      In any event, in May 1930 the famous mime Emil Jannings was still able to cite lines from the comedy, in which he had played factory owner Giesecke. It went like this: during a meeting with influential producer and director Erik Charell (actually: Erich Karl Löwenberg) in the “Weisses Rössl” at Wolfgangsee, the actor demanded in Berlin jargon “nen jrünen Aal” (a green eel ). A lively dialog between him and the waiter – also speaking dialect, Austrian, naturally – ensued. Suddenly, Charell – always searching for a new operetta subject – realized what was going on: Jannings was acting his earlier stage role “for real”. The actual dispute resembled the fictitious one from the comedy like one twin the other. And where appearance and reality so fluidly mixed – there had to be material for an operetta!

      Writers Hans Müller and composer Robert Gilbert were commissioned to write a libretto which would once again evoke the Salzkammergut countryside idyll, far away from the taint of industry. Once again, a droll-beatific retrospective on the supposed “good old days” of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the First World War was created. Except for one important ingredient, the librettists stuck to the comedy: in the operetta, even Emperor Franz Joseph gets into the act – as a deus ex machina who in the end helps straighten out the romantic conflict between “Rössl” landlady Josepha Vogelhuber and her head waiter Leopold Brandmeyer. Nothing but pure nostalgia! In addition, the contrasts between Viennese sentimentality, Alpine atmosphere and Berlin farce become even more exaggerated.

      Ralph Benatzky was commissioned to set the libretto to music. Benatzky, born in 1884 in the Moravian town of Budwitz, was one of Erik Charell’s closest collaborators. His diverse activities ranged on the one hand from doing richly furnished operettas to small musical comedies on the other. As the son of a secondary school teacher, he had grown up in Prague and obtained his musical training from no less than Munich court kapellmeister Felix Mottl. It was now his task to set the libretto within an incredibly short period of time, as the premiere was already set for November 1930. Although Benatzky wrote most of the numbers himself, he had some hits supplied nolens volens by specifically recruited experts: the dashing song in contemporary Berlin accent “Was kann der Sigismund dafür, dass er so schön ist” (“What can Sigismund do about the fact that he’s so handsome”) is from Robert Gilbert; the tear-stained waltz “Zuschaun kann i net” (“I can’t bear to watch”) is from Bruno Granichstaedten. The delicately rhythmic slow foxtrot “Die Ganze Welt ist Himmelblau” (“The whole world is blue as the heavens”) and the dulcet three-quarter-time hymn “Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein” (“My love song must be a waltz”) is from the pen of Robert Stolz. But also the unnamed Eduard Künneke is said to have contributed some of the chorus parts.

      On November 8, 1930, the premiere of Weisses Rössl swept over the stage of Berlin’s Grosses Schauspielhaus. The audience – not the least due to outstanding lead actors like Max Hansen, Otto Wallburg and Paul Hörbiger – was thoroughly enthusiastic. Charell had staged and directed the piece himself and spared no expense. A colleague of directorpundit Max Reinhardt was responsible for the opulent and realistic sets. There were 416 completely sold-out performances of Weisses Rössl in the German capital alone. The work premiered in London in 1931 in the Coliseum and played there 650 times. And as Auberge du Cheval Blanc, it has belonged to the standard repertoire in France since its first performance in Paris in 1937. In the United States, the operetta was performed on Broadway as The White Horse Inn even during the days of the “Third Reich” – with complete success. Charell’s revue-like model was then copied throughout the world. Weisses Rössl made it even as far as Argentina and Australia. In Nazi Germany, however, it was prohibited because of its Jewish authors.

      Once again, an operetta spread the Austrian “feeling” throughout the world. This is most characteristic in the lines that the Emperor himself preaches to landlady Josepha – who is in love with a dry academician, not her country-bumpkin head waiter – telling her wisely to be humble: “That’s the way it is in life,/ and all have the same cares:/ what one would like,/ is so far away!/ If one could have anything,/ if one found effortlessly/ what one will never get,/ how easy it would be./ But one must gradually come to see,/ that humility is best./ Be silent and content,/ smile and reconcile yourself,/ that’s the way it is in life,/ all have the same cares:/ and especially the greatest dream/ is only froth!”

      Richard Eckstein
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • 1.Introduktion00:49
      • 2.Zwischentext01:18
      • 3.Ankunft der Gäste – „Aber meine Herrschaften“04:33
      • 4.Zwischentext00:22
      • 5.„Einmal nur“ – „Es muss was wunderbares sein“02:48
      • 6.Zwischentext00:13
      • 7.Ankunft des Dampfers – „Das ist der Zauber der Saison“02:19
      • 8.Zwischentext01:44
      • 9.„Wenn das Barometer wieder Sommer macht“ – „Im Weißen Rössl am Wolfgangsee“03:53
      • 10.Zwischentext01:18
      • 11.„Eine Kuh so wie du“ – „Im Salzkammergut, da ka‘mer gut“02:25
      • 12.Zwischentext00:11
      • 13.„Die ganze Welt ist himmelblau“03:03
      • 14.Zwischentext00:32
      • 15.Finale 100:47
      • 16.Zwischentext00:06
      • 17.Finale 1 – „Wenn es hier mal richtig regnet“03:27
      • 18.Zwischentext
      • 19.„Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein“03:22
      • 20.Zwischentext00:46
      • 21.Für ein Lächeln von ihr“ – „Zuschau‘n kann i net“03:03
      • 22.Zwischentext00:14
      • 23.Marschlied01:25
      • 24.Zwischentext00:34
      • 25.„Im Salzkammer gut, da ka‘mer gut lustig sein“05:30
      • 26.Zwischentext00:22
      • 27.„Was kann der Sigismund dafür, dass er so schön ist“02:12
      • 28.Zwischentext00:47
      • 29.„Früher war ich schüchtern“ – „Und als der Herrgott Mai gemacht“02:11
      • 30.Zwischentext00:25
      • 31.„Auf der Alm, da gibt‘s koa Sünd‘“00:50
      • 32.Zwischentext00:42
      • 33.Der Ausrufer
      • 34.Zwischentext01:40
      • 35.Finale 2 – „Wenn wir marschieren“02:57
      • 36.Zwischentext01:29
      • 37.Finale 202:37
      • 38.Zwischentext00:24
      • 39.Finale 200:37
      • 40.Zwischentext00:10
      • 41.„Erst wann´s aus wird sein“ – „Ein Veilchen am Hut“03:00
      • 42.Zwischentext00:21
      • 43.„´s ist einmal im Leben so“01:10
      • 44.Zwischentext
      • 45.Reminiszenz02:14
      • 46.Zwischentext00:28
      • 47.„Mir wird so warm in deinem Arm“02:33
      • 48.Zwischentext01:55
      • 49.Finale – „Lasst uns Schampus trinken“ – „Im Weißen Rössl“01:04
      • Total:01:14:50