1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lortzing, Gustav Albert

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6248841911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 17 — Lortzing, Gustav Albert

LORTZING, GUSTAV ALBERT (1801–1851), German composer, was born at Berlin on the 23rd of October 1801. Both his parents were actors, and when he was nineteen the son began to play youthful lover at the theatres of Düsseldorf and Aachen, sometimes also singing in small tenor or baritone parts. His first opera Ali Pascha von Jannina appeared in 1824, but his fame as a musician rests chiefly upon the two operas Der Wildschütz (1842) and Czar und Zimmermann (1837). The latter, although now regarded as one of the masterpieces of German comic opera, was received with little enthusiasm by the public of Leipzig. Subsequent performance in Berlin, however, provoked such a tempest of applause that the opera was soon placed on all the stages of Germany. It was translated into English, French, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Bohemian, Hungarian and Russian. Der Wildschütz was based on a comedy of 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 it is only necessary to note Der Pole und sein Kind, produced shortly after the Polish insurrection of 1831, and Undine (1845). Lortzing died at Berlin on the 21st of January 1851.