Gustav Albert Lortzing
(October 23, 1801 – January 21, 1851) was a German composer,
actor and singer. He is considered to be the main
representative of the German Spieloper, a form similar to
the French opéra comique, which grew out of the Singspiel.
Life and career
Lortzing was born in Berlin to Johann Gottlieb Lortzing and
Charlotte Sophie. They had abandoned their leather shop and
travelled through Germany as itinerant actors, founding the
Berlin theatre company Urania, and turning their amateur
passion into a profession. The young Lortzing's first stage
appearance was at the age of 12, entertaining the audience
with comic poems during the interval in the Kornhaus at the
Freiburg Münster. From 1817, the Lortzing family were part
of Josef Derossi ensemble in the Rhineland, treading the
boards at Bonn, Düsseldorf, Barmen and Aachen. Albert
Lortzing became an audience favourite, playing the roles of
a youthful lover, a country boy and bon vivant, sometimes
also singing in small tenor or baritone parts.
He married an actress,
Rosina Regine Ahles, on January 30, 1824, with whom he
subsequently had 11 children. The couple belonged to the
Hoftheater in Detmold from late 1826, which toured to
Münster and Osnabrück. Lortzing joined the Freemasons, a
popular refuge for artists in Metternich's police state.
Lortzing composed an oratorio in Detmold, Die Himmelfahrt
Christi (Christ's Ascension), which premiered in Münster,
and predictably earned a rebuke for the young composer from
the Münster regional governor, who claimed that Lortzing was
"a composer of no renown".
Lortzing composed the music
for Christian Dietrich Grabbe's Don Juan und Faust, playing
the role of Don Juan himself, with his wife as Donna Anna.
Lortzing received a glowing report from an anonymous
reviewer in a Frankfurt paper, who also mistakenly praised
Lortzing for the text "by this brilliant poet". Grabbe, the
real poet, was outraged, although the review did bring good
publicity for the piece.
On November 3, 1833, the young Lortzings gave their debut at
the Leipziger Stadttheater. Lortzing's parents had been
members of this ensemble since 1832, under Friedrich Sebald
Ringelhardt. Here, Lortzing became a member of the artists'
club "Tunnel unter der Pleisse" ("Tunnel under the Pleiße"),
and in 1834 he became a member of the Leipzig Freemasons
lodge "Balduin zur Linde" ("Balduin to the Linden Tree").
Lortzing was much loved in the Leipzig ensemble,
particularly when acting in Johann Nestroy's comedies.
However, his tendency to improvise and to deviate from the
script attracted the attention of the theatrical police.
His first comic opera, Zar
und Zimmermann, had a tough time with the Leipzig censors.
It premiered in Leipzig on December 22, 1837. Lortzing
himself sang the role of Peter Iwanow, but it did not make a
major breakthrough until its Berlin performances in 1839,
where it was much praised.
In 1844, Lortzing became
Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Stadttheater. After a quarrel
with management, he was dismissed in April 1845 due to
his "rheumatic troubles". The repeated protests of the
public got him reinstated, but he was soon dismissed again
after another argument. In an open letter, signed by almost
everyone in the ensemble, he made a plea against the
measures taken by the city government.
Between 1846 and 1848,
Lortzing worked as Kapellmeister at the Theater an der Wien
in Vienna. At the behest of the Freedom Movement, he wrote
text and music in 1848 for his political opera Regina, named
after his wife. This work concerned both labour struggles
and fear of suicide. His last full-length opera was an 1849
fairy-tale satire of the Prussian military state called
Rolands Knappen (Roland's Squire), featuring the repeated
line "And this is supposed to be a world order?" ("Und das
soll eine Weltordnung sein?")
In 1848 he lost his
appointment and had to return to work as a touring actor to
support his large family. He worked at Gera and Lüneburg,
among other cities. Finally in 1850, he became the
Kapellmeister in Berlin at the newly opened Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches
On January 20, 1851, the
night he was to attend the premiere of his musical comedy
Die Opernprobe, Lortzing suffered a stroke and died without
medical treatment on the morning of the following day, under
huge stress and deeply in debt. A number of luminaries from
the musical world were present at his funeral, including
Giacomo Meyerbeer, Heinrich Dorn, Wilhelm Taubert and Carl
Friedrich Rungenhagen. Lortzing's theatrical colleagues
decorated his coffin with black, red and gold, a combination
forbidden after 1848. A public benefit was then later held
for his already impoverished family.
Lortzing's tomb in Berlin
Works His first singspiel, Ali Pascha von Janina (de),
appeared in 1824, but his fame as a musician rests chiefly
upon the two operas Zar und Zimmermann (1837) and Der
Zar und Zimmermann was
received with very little enthusiasm by the public of
Leipzig. However, at subsequent performances in Berlin there
was a much more positive reaction. The opera soon appeared
on all the stages of Germany, and today is regarded as one
of the masterpieces of German comic opera. It was translated
into English, French, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Bohemian,
Hungarian and Russian. The story is based around Tsar Peter
I 'The Great' of Russia, who travelled to Germany, Holland
and England disguised as a carpenter in order to gain
first-hand technical knowledge he believed necessary for his
country's economic progress, such as modern shipbuilding.
Der Wildschütz was based on
a comedy by August von Kotzebue, and was a satire on the
unintelligent and exaggerated admiration for the highest
beauty in art expressed by the bourgeois gentilhomme.
Of his other operas, Der
Pole und sein Kind, produced shortly after the Polish
insurrection of 1831, and Undine (1845) are notable.
Lortzing was popular in
Berlin and after his death, a memorial statue was erected in
the Tiergarten in Berlin.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Zar und Zimmermann - 1837
Peter the Great of Russia in
Zar und Zimmermann (Tsar and
Carpenter) is a comic opera in three acts, music by
libretto by the composer after Georg Christian Römer's Der
Bürgermeister von Saardam, oder Die zwei Peter, itself based
on the French play Le Bourgesmestre de Sardam, ou Les deux
Pierres by Anne-Honoré-Joseph Duveyrier de Mélésville, Jean
Toussaint Merle, and Eugène Centiran de Boirie. In 1956 it
was adapted into a film in East Germany, The Czar and the
Carpenter. Gaetano Donizetti had set the same story in his
1827 opera Il borgomastro di Saardam.
The opera was first performed at the Stadttheater in
Leipzig, on December 22, 1837. Lortzing's most successful
and enduring work, it is still regularly performed in
The action takes place in Saardam, Holland, in 1698.
Peter the Great of Russia,
disguised as Peter Michaelov, a common laborer, is working
in a shipyard in the Dutch town of Saardam, to learn
shipbuilding techniques for his navy. He befriends a fellow
Russian also working in the yard, Peter Ivanov, a deserter
from the Russian army. Peter Ivanov is in love with Marie,
the niece of Van Bett, the Burgomaster of Saardam. Tsar
Peter is told of trouble in Russia, and decides to return
Van Bett has been told to
find a foreigner named Peter in the shipyard. The English
ambassador, Syndham, and the French ambassador, Chateauneuf,
have both heard the rumor of Tsar Peter's disguised presence
and are looking for him, which convinces Van Bett that
"Peter" is an important man. But in confusion, he identifies
the wrong Peter. Chateauneuf recognises the real Tsar, and
concludes an alliance with him. Syndham is fooled and
presents Peter Ivanov with a passport.
Van Bett, very confused,
salutes Peter Ivanov with an elaborate ceremony. Peter
Ivanov gives the passport to Tsar Peter, who uses it to
leave quietly, having first blessed Peter Ivanov's marriage
to Marie, and appointed him to a high office in Russia.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Albert Lortzing: Zar und Zimmermann
Albert Lortzing Zar und Zimmermann
Lieblich roten sich die Wangen
Het Volendams Opera Koor met Albert
Lortzing Zar und Zimmermann Lieblich roten sich die Wangen
Lortzing: Zar und Zimmermann -
Robert Heger (dir.)
00:00 Den hohen Herrscher würdig zu
03:40 Heil sei dem Tag
Der Wildschutz - 1842
Der Wildschütz oder Die Stimme der
Natur (The Poacher, or The Voice of Nature) is a German Komische
Oper, or comic opera, in three acts by Albert Lortzing from a
libretto by the composer adapted from the comedy Der Rehbock, oder
Die schuldlosen Schuldbewussten by August von Kotzebue. It had its
premiere at the Stadttheater in Leipzig on 31 December 1842.
At the village hotel, the schoolmaster Baculus is celebrating his
engagement to Gretchen. A hunter from the Count von Eberbach then
arrives at the festivities with a letter telling Baculus that he has
been dismissed from his schoolmaster post, as Baculus had earlier
gone hunting on the count's land without his permission. Baculus
thinks to send Gretchen to change the count's mind, but then recalls
the count's weakness for young women. The Baroness von Freimann,
sister of the count and recently widowed, arrives disguised as a
student to travel incognito. Her brother wants her to remarry with
Baron Kronthal. The Baroness hears of Baculus' misfortune, and
offers herself to plead his case in place of Gretchen. The Count
then comes on the scene with his shooting party, as does Baron
Kronthal. Both the Count and the baron are immediately attracted to
Gretchen. The entire party is then gathered for the count's birthday
celebration at his castle.
The Countess von Eberbach has a weakness for ancient tragedies,
particularly Sophocles, and she bores her servant when she expounds
on them. Pancratius, the house master, advises Baculus to exploit
this feature to gain favour with the countess. Baculus impresses the
countess with quotations from these ancient literary works. However,
the Count sees this and tries to banish Baculus from the
proceedings. Baculus then tries to enlist the Baroness with the idea
of her appearing as Gretchen, in disguise. A storm then arises, and
this forces Baculus and Gretchen to remain locked in the castle.
During a billiards party, the lights suddenly go out. The Count and
the Baron take the opportunity to surprise Gretchen. However, the
Countess helps Baculus and Gretchen to escape. The baron then offers
a reward of 5000 Taler for delivering Gretchen to him.
The Count's birthday celebration is continuing. The "correct"
Gretchen is now brought to the castle. The Baron notices that
Gretchen seems different from before. Baculus then reveals that the
"previous" Gretchen was a student in disguise. After Baculus is
pressed further, the Baroness reveals her true identity. The Baron
demands an explanation from Baculus, and later the Count adds his
voice to ask for clarification. The countess eventually arrives as
well. The confusion is finally clarified. In the end, Baculus and
Gretchen are reunited, and Baculus is restored to his schoolmaster
position. It also turns out that Baculus had accidentally shot his
own donkey initially, rather than a deer on the count's grounds.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lortzing - Der Wildschutz
Gräfin Gisela Litz
Baron Kronthal Fritz Wunderlich
Baronin Freimann Anneliese Rothenberger
Nanette Gertrud Vordemfelde
Baculus Fritz Ollendorf
Gretchen Lotte Schädle
Pancratius Walter Ehrengut
Ein Gast Karl-Heinz Schmidtpeter
Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper München
Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper München
Dirigent: Robert Heger
Undine - 1845
Undine is an opera in four acts by
Albert Lortzing. The German libretto was by the composer after
Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's story of the same name.
There had been a revival of
interest in Fouqué following the writer's death in 1843 to which
Lortzing responded. Unlike Lortzing's earlier comedies, this work is
a serious one, described as a romantische Zauberoper ('romantic
A number of other operas and
ballets have been based on Fouqué's version of the myth of the water
spirit Ondine, including Tchaikovsky's Undina, E T A Hoffmann's
Undine, Cesare Pugni's Ondine and Hans Werner Henze's Undine.
The opera was first performed at the Nationaltheater in Magdeburg,
on 21 April 1845
The knight Hugo von Ringstetten, having won a tournament, has been
given a quest by Bertalda, the daughter of the Duke. She wants him
to explore the enchanted forest. Hugo and his squire Veit have been
forced by bad weather and floods to take refuge in a fishing
village, and have been living there for some months. Hugo has fallen
in love with the beautiful Undine, the foster daughter of the
fisherman Tobias and his wife Marthe, and plans to marry her. He
tells his bride of his previous life and that he had once loved
Bertalda, but now has forgotten her. They are astonished at Undine's
remark that she has no soul.
As farmers and fishermen follow the
knight and Undine into the Chapel, Kühleborn, the Prince of the
water spirits, suddenly appears, disguised as a farmer, and talks to
Veit. He remarks that this Undine is probably only a creation of his
Lord and will not be permanent. Kühleborn had once kidnapped the
real daughter of the fishermen, Bertalda, and entrusted her to the
Duke. Undine was left for Tobias and Marthe to raise instead. He
wanted to test whether the people who have a soul, are better off
than the soulless spirits that live in the waters. He decides to
watch over Undine and accompanies the young couple and Veit to the
imperial capital, disguised as a priest.
The winemaker Hans is happy to welcome back his drinking friend Veit,
who tells him about his adventures, and that he has married Undine,
a mermaid without a soul. Bertalda learns that Hugo is married, and
her love turns to hate. Kühleborn joins the celebration disguised as
a count from Naples. As she reviles Undine because of her lowly
origin, Kühleborn claims that Bertalda is actually the child of
fisher people, who she contemptuously rejects. To prove that she is
of noble blood, she displays a box belonging to her father the Duke.
But a letter inside the box attests Kühleborn's claim. Horrified
Bertalda collapses. Kühleborn declares that he is the Prince of the
water and disappears before their eyes into the waters of the
fountain in the Hall.
Bertalda seduces Hugo. Hugo tells Undine that he will no longer live
with a water goblin. Undine warns him of Kühleborn's revenge and
anger, but he determines to make Bertalda his wife anyway. Kühleborn
brings Undine back into the water depths. He explains that beings
with a soul are no better than the spirits without them.
Hugo cannot forget Undine and his bad dreams haunt him. Veit and
Hans, who has entered into Hugo's service, celebrate the wedding of
their Lord with Bertalda, which will take place that day.
Intoxicated, they remove the stones blocking the castle fountain.
Slowly arising from the water in a white mask, Undine goes weeping
into the castle. During the marriage celebration in the castle hall,
Hugo, in vain, seeks to dispel ill forebodings. At midnight, the
lights go out. Undine appears, surrounded by a mysterious blue
light. Hugo throws himself at her feet. A flood of water destroys
the castle. The palace of Kühleborn appears with Undine and Hugo
kneeling before him. Hugo is forgiven but must remain forever in the
realm of the water spirits.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Albert Lortzing: Undine - Milano,
1953 (Schech, Traxel, Bak; dir. Heger)
Bertalda: Marianne Schech
Hugo: Josef Traxel
Kühleborn: Gotfried Fern
Tobias: Heinrich Sailer
Marthe: Ina Gerein
Undine: Valerie Bak
Coro e Orchestra della RAI di Milano
dir. Robert Heger
Albert Lortzing - Undine -
Undine, romantische Zauberoper in four
acts, first performance 21 April 1845, Stadttheater, Magdburg.
Libretto: Albert Lortzing after
Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte Fouqué.
Het Volendams Opera Koor met Albert
Lortzing Undine O kehr Zuruck
Der Waffenschmied - 1846
Der Waffenschmied (The Armourer) is an
opera (Singspiel) in three acts by Albert Lortzing. The
German-language libretto was by the composer after Friedrich Wilheim
von Ziegler's Liebhaber und Nebenbuhler in einer Person (Lover and
Rival in One Person). This is often considered his third most
popular work. His works are considered to be part of the Biedermeier
period. It premiered in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien on 31 May
1846 conducted by Lortzing. The role of Marie was written with Jenny
Lind in mind who he hoped would sing the part. The opera was
eventually successful enough that Lortzing was offered the post of
Kapellmeister at the theater which he held until the revolution of
1848, when he had to return to Leipzig.  Arnold Schönberg,
arranged Lortzing’s "Waffenschmied“ for piano for 4 hands. The story
is set in in the city of Worms in the 16th century.
Count von Liebenau loves Marie, the
daughter of the armorer Stadinger (who is also a veterinarian) and
wants nothing to do with Fräulein von Katzenstein. He wants her to
love him for his own sake and not because of his noble title. Since
the Stadinger also has rejected the noble candidate - because his
wife was abducted by a Knight - Liebenau has come to work for him as
a blacksmith journeyman named Konrad. Poor Marie is in distress,
should she give her heart to the noble Knight or a simple
blacksmith, because she loves both of them.
Stadinger invites his companions to
his 25th anniversary of becoming a master armorer the next day after
work. Entrusting Georg (Liebenau’s Squire posing with his master as
a blacksmith) for the arrangements because Stadinger must make a vet
call on some sick cows. Georg sings of the joys of life (Man wird ja
einmal nur geboren). Liebenau appears in his true form as a rich
knight after all have gone to bed, yet once more makes love to
Marie, and put her to the test (Gern gäb ich Glanz und Reichtum hin).
But Marie finally rejects him, because she loves Konrad. She begins
to doubt the sincerity of the count’s love. Georg announces that
Stadinger has returned. He discovers the count and Georg helps
Liebenau to escape. After the commotion sparked by Stadinger has
died down, Marie returns and listens at Konrad's door. Because he
doesn’t stir, she wishes him good night at his closed door (Er
Liebenau in the role of the jealous
journeymen Konrad, accuses Marie, of having she a tryst with a
count. After a short argument they are reconciled. In an intricate
kissing scene, which also Irmentraut and Georg are involved, the
suspicious Stadinger bursts in and tries in vain to find out who
kissed who. Stadinger decides Konrad is fickle. The confusion
becomes even greater when in waddles the Knight Adelhof, who warns
Stadinger that Count Liebenau would like to see Konrad married to
Marie. But Stadinger doesn't like the journeyman Konrad. Stadinger
decides to marry his daughter off to Georg so that neither Konrad
nor the Count will get her. Georg declines the offer.
At Stadinger’s celebration Georg
has to sing a song (War einst ein junger Springinsfeld). The party
is abruptly interrupted by the Irmentraut who says that the Count
has kidnapped his daughter. In fact the Count has put on this
kidnapping by his men, so that as Konrad he can rescue her. He hopes
that Stadinger will then give him Marie's hand out of gratitude.
Stadinger thinks of sending her to a nunnery instead since he
doesn’t like Konrad.
Marie complains of women’s lot in
life (Wir armen, armen Mädchen). To break Stadinger’s obstinacy
Liebenau has his armed men marching around the city. Stadinger’s
brother in-law reads aloud a letter allegedly from the City Council,
in which Stadinger is required to marry his daughter to Konrad to
keep the civic peace. Now, he has to give his consent. While he
remembers his youth and how good life used to be (Auch ich war ein
Jüngling mit lockigem Haar). The royally arrayed Knight comes with
his young wife and numerous followers to thank his new
father-in-law. Stadinger is incensed when he realizes that Count
Liebenau and the journeyman Konrad are one and the same person and
he has been outsmarted, but he finally blesses the couple and is
satisfied with the turn of events.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lortzing "Overture" Der
Christoph Stepp, conductor
Albert Lortzing - Hans Sachs -
Hans Sachs, Fest-Oper mit Taz in three
acts, first performance 23 June 1840, Stadttheater, Leipzig.
Libretto: Albert Lortzing, arr. by Philipp Reger after Johann Ludwig
Orchestra: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Adolf Fritz Guhl
Albert Lortzing - Der Pole und sein
Kind - Ouverture
Der Pole und sein Kind oder Der
Feldwebel vom IV. Regiment, Liederspiel in one act, first
performance 11 October 1832, Stadttheater, Osnabrück.
Libretto: Albert Lortzing.
Orchestra: Leipzig Radio Symphony
Conductor: Adolf Fritz Guhl
Albert Lortzing - Regina -
Regina, opera in three acts, composed
in 1848, first performance 21 March 1899, Royal Opera House, Berlin.