The New International Encyclopædia/Lortzing, Gustav Albert

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LORTZING, lôrts'ĭng, Gustav Albert (1803-51). A German operatic composer, born in Berlin. His parents were members of a traveling theatrical troupe, and the boy was practically self-taught, save for a few lessons received from a teacher in Berlin (Rungenhagen). He produced his first opera, Ali Pascha von Janina, in 1824, and in 1826 joined the permanent company of the Court Theatre at Detmold. His next two works were vaudevilles, Der Pole und sein Kind and Scene ans Mozarts Leben. His most successful opera is Zar und Zimmermann, which is to this day performed in every German opera house. Der Waffenschmied and Die beiden Schützen were scarcely less popular. His uneven temperament and character greatly interfered with his artistic as well as his material success. Conductor of the Leipzig Opera in 1844, he almost immediately quarreled with the management and had to resign. After a brief period, however, admirers secured his reinstatement; but a second quarrel brought his engagement to an end. In 1850 he was appointed kapellmeister of the new Friedrich Wilhelmstädtisches Theater in Berlin, where he produced some successful light operas, farces, etc. He was a prolific composer, and his music was melodic. Many of his operas are still popular on the provincial German stage. He died in Berlin.