This production of Richard Heuberger's operetta Der Opernball originally aired on German television in the early 1970s, and stars Herald Serafin, Tatjana Iwanow and Beate Hasenau. Eugen York directs. The Graunke Symphony Orchestra lends musical accompaniment under the baton of Willy Mattes.
Pretty much the sole survivor of Heuberger's small operetta output, "Opernball" may not boast one of the great theatre scores, but it's certainly pleasant enough, and it does have the famous waltz "Im Chambre séparée"...a minor piece of Vienna Gold. The plot is like "Die Fledermaus," only more so: here three women run about in disguise to befuddle their menfolk at the Paris ball of the title. (You probably won't need to be told that all ends well.) For reasons best known to the director--perhaps to justify the cheap-looking sets--framing scenes have been added, in which the painter Toulouse-Lautrec and a model discuss the events of the story. (There are also some anachronistic gags in the dialogue, typical with these 1970s tv productions.) As usual, the singing has been pre-recorded--which would be less noticeable if the acoustic were not so different during the spoken passages. However, the performers are all good, especially Uwe Friedrichsen and Christiane Schroeder as the juvenile couple, and there doesn't seem to be another complete version of this piece in any format. Clear subtitles, stereo sound, nice booklet.