Lortzing’s Regina in Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern.

Currently Lortzing’s oper “Regina” is performed in the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern theatre.

The work has a strange history, but I will not go over that here; others have done that better. But, since the first performance of the restored version in Gelsenkirchen in 1998, the popularity of the work is rising, which is a good thing, because Lortzing’s fame as a composer of popular, “volkstümlich” Spieloper is declining. “Regina” is putting him back in the spotlight as a composer of more serious music.

Although I still think that Lortzing’s forte was more in the field of comic opera, IMHO. 🙂

Last year Regina was performed in Munich, but only as a concert. A recording on CD of this performance can be ordered here, but you can listen to the Finale at YouTube, music only.

Since the work has been restored, there must have been a corrupt version too! It is not the place here to talk about the how’s, the why’s and the howmany’s, but the most infamous of these versions is the arrangement by Adolphe l’Arronge and Richard Kleinmichel, who made a complete different story (and, in fact, almost a complete different opera) of it, to adjust the opera to the political situation of Aronge’s time.

It was performed in Berlin on March, 21st in 1899. The arrangement was criticized, especially in the journal “Ulk”, as you can see on this caricature:

Translation: Lortzing: for Heaven’s sake, what are you doing with my [opera] Regina?
L’Arronge: it is only a little blood-letting, you can see though what I scrape off of her.

Just to show a little of the way L’Arronge treated Lortzing’s work: The finale, in the original music consisting of the festive music Lortzing recycled from his own “Caramo, oder das Fischerstechen”, is now replaced by the so called “Yorckscher Marsch”, originally written by Ludwig van Beethoven. Not a bad composer, although personally I don’t like this kind of “Kapellmeister-Musik”. However, you should judge for yourself:

Now, in Kaiserslautern, you can hear Regina as closely to Lortzing’s original intentions as possible, although I’m not sure if Lortzing would have liked the horrible dress that Regina had to wear during the performance:

(picture by Hans-Jürgen Brehms-Seufert, from a review by Manfred Langer, September 22nd, 2013 at “Der Opernfreund”. Since there is no permanent link to this review I’ve uploaded a pdf to my own server.)

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