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<<  -- 4 --  Kelly Ferjutz    JOYOUS INDEED!

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After a leisurely dinner and short walk around downtown Wooster, my companion and I returned to Freedlander for the second half of our operetta double-bill -- The White Horse Inn by Ralph Benatzky, acting as chairman of the committee that assembled this scrumptious cream puff. I use the term 'committee' advisedly, I think, considering that the program lists additional music by Robert Stolz, Bruno Granichstaedten and Robert Gilbert; original libretto by Hans Müller and Erik Charell (after the comedy by Blumenthal and Kadelburg) with original lyrics by Robert Gilbert. Whoo. The English version is by Richard Traubner. It's more nearly a musical comedy than an operetta, although it premièred at the Grosses Schauspielhaus, Berlin, on 8 November 1930.

Briefly, the story, which obviously takes place at The White Horse Inn, located on Lake Wolfgang in Austria is: Josepha, a youngish widow who owns the Inn, thinks she's in love with Dr Siedler, a lawyer from Berlin. Leopold, the head waiter at the Inn, is definitely in love with Josepha, but to her, he's just there. Leopold gives the room usually reserved to Siedler to the Giesecke father/daughter, Wilhelm (a manufacturer of underwear) and Ottilie. Ottilie is intended for Sigismund, the son of her father's business rival. Sigismund, of course, falls for Klärchen, the daughter of a tutor. The arrival of Emperor Franz Joseph both upsets and settles everything at the Inn, and the various couples finally get themselves sorted out, including Leopold and his Josepha.

From left to right: Oliver Henderson (Hinzelmann), John Buffet (chorus), Boyd Mackus (Wilhelm), Sarah Asmar (Ottilie) and Grant Knox (Otto) in Ohio Light Opera's production of 'White Horse Inn'. Photo © 2005 Matt Dilyard
From left to right: Oliver Henderson (Hinzelmann), John Buffet (chorus), Boyd Mackus (Wilhelm), Sarah Asmar (Ottilie) and Grant Knox (Otto) in Ohio Light Opera's production of 'White Horse Inn'. Photo © 2005 Matt Dilyard

Soprano Julie Wright was not only Stage Director of the work, but also sang and danced the part of Josepha in an energetic performance. Her usual foil was the nimble Boyd Mackus as Herr Giesecke, although near the end Anthony Maida's impassioned Leopold won out. Grant Knox was suitably officious in the role of Dr Siedler, who promptly fell in love with the delightful Ottilie of Sarah Asmar.

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Copyright © 26 July 2005 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA

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