Albert Lortzing

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Lortzing, Albert


Born Oct. 23, 1801, in Berlin; died there Jan. 21, 1851. German composer.

Lortzing was the son of itinerant actors. He studied music independently and began singing tenor roles in Leipzig and Det-mold (until 1844). He conducted operas in Leipzig, Vienna, and Berlin. While living in Vienna, he took part in the Revolution of 1848. Lortzing contributed to the development of comic opera in Germany. His works, notable for their melodic grace and national character, are still in the theater repertoire. He composed more than 20 operas (the first in 1828) and operettas, the best of which are Tsar and Carpenter, or The Two Peters (produced in 1837), The Two Marksmen (produced in 1837), Undine (produced in 1845), and The Armorer (produced in 1846). Lortzing also composed oratorios, choruses, incidental music, romances, and songs.


Hoffmann, M. Albert Lortzing. Leipzig, 1956.
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Schneider's perceptive analyses of individual works by each composer that he discusses require many pages; therefore, in terms of the total number of pages they receive, three of his subjects - Jean-Baptiste Lully, Rameau, and Gluck - ascend to the upper echelon of stageworthy composers: Lully (45), George Frideric Handel (40, but much within them is contextual information), Gluck (311, Giuseppe Verdi (29), Richard Wagner (28), Rameau (27), Mozart (23), Rossini (20), Franz Lehar (191, Albert Lortzing and Jacques Offenbach (17 each), Sergey Prokofiev (131, Heinrich Marschner (121, Alban Berg (111, Arnold Schoenberg (101, Vincenzo Bellini, Johann Strauss Jr.
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Apart from Weber, Meyerbeer and Marschner, who fulfilled Vienna's criteria for enjoyment, perhaps the most successful Biedermeier opera composer was the German Albert Lortzing, whose Zar und Zimmermann, Der Wildschutz and Der Waffenschmied drew enormous audiences, attracted by the clever plots, the humour and the hummable arias.
In 1894, when he was not yet 18, Bruno Schlesinger made his debut as a conductor, leading a performance of the light opera Waffenschmied by Albert Lortzing.