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Barbi, or The Charcoal Burner's Daughter

Comic Opera in Two Acts

Libretto and Piano Score by Otto Ludwig
Transcribed from the original notebooks and translated into English by Ida H. Washington

Barbi, or The Charcoal Burnerís Daughter is in its libretto, plot and music a cross between a Gilbert & Sullivan musical and The Sound of Music. It abounds in clever lines and tuneful melodies, trite love scenes and dramatic encounters. Set in the Tyrol at the time of the French invasion of that area, soldiers and peasants, villain and hero play against the backdrop of a local wine festival where colorfully costumed dancers circle the stage.

The operetta was written in 1838 but never published. In the two world wars the music and the libretto became internationally separated. The libretto later turned up in the archives of Johns Hopkins University in America, while the music lay in the government archive in Weimar, Germany. Putting them together, transcribing, and translating involved a scholarly effort of many years duration.

As a young man in the hills of central Germany, Otto Ludwig wrote musical dramas for the local stage and dreamt of becoming a recognized composer. When his operetta Die Köhlerin (The Charcoal Burnerís Daughter) won him a scholarship from the Duke of Meiningen to study with Mendelssohn in Leipzig, it seemed that his wishes were coming true. However, the Leipzig experience was a disaster for the boy from the hills. He gave up composing music, set aside his prize-winning operetta, and turned to writing fiction, eventually attaining fame as the "father of psychological realism."

Publication date: 1999
315 pages, Comb bound, 8 1/2 x 11 inches.
ISBN: 0-9666832-1-8

price: $35.00 plus shipping and handling   (ordering information)