Gustav Albert Lortzing  
Gustav Albert Lortzing
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,[1][2] 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 Theater.

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


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 Wildschütz (1842).

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 Holland
Zar und Zimmermann (Tsar and Carpenter) is a comic opera in three acts, music by Lortzing Albert, 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.

Performance history

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 German-speaking countries.

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 home.

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.

From 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 - Singschule
III.Act, Singschule
Robert Heger (dir.)

00:00 Den hohen Herrscher würdig zu empfangen
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.


Act 1

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.

Act 2
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.

Act 3
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.

From 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
Ein Kinderchor
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 magic opera').

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.

Performance history

The opera was first performed at the Nationaltheater in Magdeburg, on 21 April 1845

Act 1
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.

Act 2
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.

Act 3
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.

Act 4
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.

From 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
rec. 1953
Albert Lortzing - Undine - Ouverture
Undine, romantische Zauberoper in four acts, first performance 21 April 1845, Stadttheater, Magdburg.

Libretto: Albert Lortzing after Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte Fouqué.


Orchestra: Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Horst Neumann

NICOLAI GEDDA "Hinweg!..Dein dräuend Angesicht" Undine (Lortzing)
Nicolai Gedda sings "Hinweg! Hinweg!.. Dein dräuend Angesicht"
from Undine by Albert Lortzing (1801-1851)
Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Robert Heger, conductor
Lortzing - Undine - Vater, Mutter, Schwestern, Brüder..."
Albert Lortzing Undine O kehr Zuruck
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. [3] 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.


Act 1

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 schläft).

Act 2

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.

Act 3

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.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lortzing "Overture" Der Waffenschmied
Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Christoph Stepp, conductor
Albert Lortzing - Hans Sachs - Ouverture
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 Deinhardsteins poem.
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 Orchestra

Conductor: Adolf Fritz Guhl

Albert Lortzing - Regina - Ouverture
Regina, opera in three acts, composed in 1848, first performance 21 March 1899, Royal Opera House, Berlin.

Libretto: Albert Lortzing.


Orchestra: Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Heinz Rogner

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