The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lortzing, Gustav Albert

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LORTZING, lôrts'ĭng, Gustav Albert, German composer: b. Berlin, 23 Oct. 1801; d. there, 21 Jan. 1851. His parents were actors and at 19 young Lortzing made his theatrical debut at Aachen and Düsseldorf. In 1824 he brought out his first opera, ‘Ali Pascha von Jannina,’ but attracted little notice. Two years later he became a member of the Court Theatre Company at Detmold. ‘Der Pole und sein Kind’ appeared in 1831. Lortzing's fame, however, rests on the two operas, ‘Czar und Zimmermann’ (1837) and ‘Der Wildschütz’ (1842). The former is one of the masterpieces of comic opera and still holds the boards in German opera-houses, although it was indifferently received at its first production at Leipzig. ‘Undine’ appeared in 1845 and ‘Der Waffenschmied’ in 1846. Lortzing was made conductor of the Leipzig Opera in 1844, but resigned soon afterward after a quarrel with the management. He was reinstated through the influence of friends, but his temperamental nature soon involved him in a second quarrel and brought about his removal. He was made capellmaster of the Friedrich Wilhelmstadtisches Theatre, Berlin, in 1850. Consult Kruse, G. R., ‘Albert Lortzing’ (Berlin 1899) and Wittmann, Herman, ‘Lortzing’ (Leipzig 1889).