At one time, Albert Lortzing was one of the most-performed opera composers in Germany. His light-hearted Spieloper (light opera) scores were standard fare in the 19th Century.
Lortzing’s style bridges the gap between Carl Maria von Weber and Franz von Suppé. These overtures have the clarity of Weber’s writing and the bustling energy of von Suppé.
These overtures show real skill in creating memorable tunes that instantly appeal to the ear. Most of Lortzing’s output was comedic, with two notable exceptions. “Undine” is a romantische Zauberoper (romantic fairy-tale opera). Its overture sounds somewhat darker and more serious, befitting the lengthier drama.
“Regina” was not performed during the composer’s lifetime. The opera revolves around an impending strike by factory workers. It was a subject that hit too close to home in 1848, the Year of Revolution.
There’s nothing revolutionary about the music, though. The overture to “Regina” show that Lortzing had the talent to write serious as well as comic opera.
The Malmö Opera Orchestra, directed by Jun Märkl hit the mark with their performances. The comic opera overtures sound as light and frothy as a beer’s head. And the more serious operas are played with an appropriate amount of gravitas and drama.
If you enjoy von Weber, Meyerbeer, von Suppé, or Offenbach, give Lortzing a listen. This release is a delight from start to finish.
Albert Lortzing: Opera Overtures
Malmö Opera Orchestra; Jun Märkl, conductor