Lortzing, Albert – Der Wildschütz
(born October 23/24, 1801 in Berlin – Died January 1, 1851 in Berlin)
„Der Wildschütz oder die Stimme der Natur“ – „Der Wildschütz or the voices of nature” –
A comic opera in three acts.
Premiere: Leipzig, Germany, December 31, 1842.
Gustav Albert Lortzing was raised in a family of drama enthusiasts who acted at an amateur theatre in Berlin. Musicians were also counted among the Lortzing circle of friends; among these family friends was the director of the Berlin Singakademie, Karl Friedrich Rungenhagen, who gave Albert Lortzing his first lessons in music theory. When Lortzing’s father was forced to give up his leather production business, both parents found jobs as professional actors in Breslau, where the ten year-old Albert gave his theatric debut. Following the work in Breslau, the family endured difficult years as freelancers traveling from city to city. In 1817 both parents joined the theatre company “Derossi.” Albert Lortzing earned a living copying musical scores while studying with various orchestral musicians. He remained self-taught in most of music’s theoretical subjects. At the same time, Albert knew the world of theatre intimately from early on.
Throughout his life, Lortzing was active as an actor, singer (baritone and tenor), cellist, conductor, director, librettist and composer. Until the age of 25, when he married Rosina Regina Ahles, Albert Lortzing traveled with his parents in the theatre world. Regarding his own professional career he stated: “In Freiburg/Breisgau I took the risk of publishing a composition of my own and I wrote a choral piece together with a dance for the theatre play “Der Schutzgeist.” I played the main role… In the year 1824 I composed a one act opera, “Ali, Pascha von Janina,” which was performed during my following position at the count theatre at Detmold, as well as the close by townships of Münster and Osnabrück. The pieces were somewhat well-received.”
In 1826, Lortzing moved to the town of Detmold, where he composed more works, mostly known as “Singspiele.” In 1833 he was hired as a tenor buffo at the town theatre of Leipzig. Ten years later he became the conductor there and spent twelve rather happy years at that house. In Leipzig, Lortzing composed most of the operas, in which he himself performed. In 1845, the theatre of Leipzig discontinued his contract, and after one additional year he was finally hired as the conductor for the Viennese “Theater an der Wien.” In Vienna, Lortzing experienced only limited success. His work “Undine” was criticized for being too German. Lortzing was forced to leave Vienna in 1848 due to the emerging revolution. Two years later in 1850, he began his last post as conductor at the “Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtischen Theater” in Berlin. Lortzing remained utterly unhappy with this final stage of his career, which also marked a low point financially. At the age of 49, after the premiere of his last opera “Die Opernprobe” in Frankfurt/Main, Lortzing died and was in a way liberated from all his hardships. …
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