It is unknown when Paul Eisler moved from Vienna to Budweis to accept a conductors post at the Stadt Theater but in 1900 he is there conducting Rigoletto in January and this piece from Albert Lortzing, Der Waffenschmied in April. Lortzing premiered this piece towards to end of his life in Vienna (1846) and it received only lukewarm reception in that city, but grew in popularity over time.
Lortzing was a singer, actor and a composer who grew up in a theater family always on the road and onto the next show. His talent was honed from early and constant stage experience and he became a successful composer with his comic and romantic Spieloper pieces. He died in Berlin in 1851.
An interesting quote from an expert on how Lortzing and the genre are perceived by the American public:
“Nineteenth-century German opera before Wagner is rarely performed in the United States, although it is still quite popular in Germany. While works by Spohr, Marschner, and Lortzing, among others, are very much a part of the repertory in many German houses, they are virtually unknown in America, and none of the above-mentioned composers is even mentioned in the index of the new seventh edition of the Burkholder-Grout-Palisca A History of Western Music. This new recording of Lortzing’s Der Waffenschmied (The Armorer [of Worms]) suggests not only why this work is still performed. It also suggests that American audiences are missing out on a delightful body of work for the lyric stage. From Lortzing’s relatively better-known works, such as Zar und Zimmermann or Der Wildschuetz, to works by Marschner, such as Der Vampyr, nineteenth-century German opera with spoken dialogue is often highly entertaining and musically satisfying, if one is not anticipating work of great gravitas. And who is always in the mood for Tristan und Isolde, masterpiece that it is?“, Jim Lovensheimer, Ph.D.,Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University,August, 2005, Opera Today
On this clip hear Elfride Trötschel sing “Er Schläft, wir alle Sind in Angst und Not” from Der Waffenschmied
Hear Fritz Wunderlich sing “Man wird ja einmal nur gebore” from Der Waffenschmied here
Hear the Waffenschmied Oveture here