Ralph Benatzky's In Weissen Rössl (The White Horse Inn) was a late entry in the "Golden Age of Operetta." It debuted in 1930, and some of its popularly oriented hits -- some penned by composers other than Benatzky himself -- were written with a light jazzy flavor, the rest being rendered in a tone more reflective of the traditional approach to Viennese operetta at the time. The rise of National Socialism in Germany sidelined this work for a while but after World War II, it returned to theaters in German-speaking lands with a vengeance. Singer Peter Alexander, arguably the most popular singer/actor in the history of Austria, appeared in a popular film version of In Weissen Rössl in 1960; this studio recording with Alexander was made in 1971, slightly pre-dating his long running television variety show, which aired from 1972 into the mid-'90s. Although it features some fine singers among the cast, including Ingeborg Hallstein, Rudolf Schock, and Erika Köth, this recording of In Weissen Rössl sounds just like a television track. Moreover, it's a very constricted-sounding television track at that; the magical spark of the original score gives way to either schmaltzy-sounding dated/updated elements or a more conservative, "beer hall" effect, neither of which represents In Weissen Rössl quite the way Benatzky wrote it. This is a case of taking what was then a familiar old classic and retooling it as a star vehicle, in this case for Alexander, and if you love him, then this Eurodisc release will be fine. It's not so much like Groucho Marx being cast in The Mikado -- they didn't change any of the music to suit him -- as it is like Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone's turn in a television production of Pinocchio (1968); if you missed that, you didn't miss much. Likewise, if the star of the show here does not appeal to you, then chances are this is not the version you should be looking for in order to enjoy In Weissen Rössl.
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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis
|Im weissen Rössl (The White Horse Inn), operetta|