Albert Lortzing

"Der Wildschutz" (oder Die Stimme der Natur)
Comic opera in three acts
composer: Albert Lortzing (1801-1851)
libretto: Albert Lortzing after a novel by August von Kotzebue (1761-1819)
first performance: December 31 1842, Leipzig
direction : Gijs de Lange
conductor: Han-Louis Meyer
set and costume design: Fer Smidt
company: Koninklijk Conservatorium
premiere: Kees van Baarenzaal, Den Haag, 12th December 1995



set designs


Plot :
A German village and castle, early 19th century. Baculus, a schoolmaster at the estate of the count of Eberbach, has accidentally shot a buck. His betrothed, Gretchen, is willing to intercede for him, but he is reluctant, and a young student offers to go instead, dressed as Gretchen. This is really Baroness Freimann, the Count's sister, who accompanied by her maid Nanette sets of to keep an eye on her own betrothed, the Count's brother in law, Baron Kronthal. The count is much taken by 'Gretchen'; the Baron bribes Bacalus with 5.000 thalers to give her up; meanwhile, 'Gretchen' is rescued from the situation by being allowed to spend the night in the room of the Countess (whose unremitting Greek quotations are a satire on the recent success of Mendelssohn's 'Antigone' music and the ensuing mania in Berlin for all things Greek). The unraveling of all these confusions still leaves Bacalus guilty of poaching and of having sold his betrothed; but is forgiven by all.


Parts of 'Der Wildschutz" and " Maria Stuarda" were performed as a double-bill. Both opera's were performed after each other. Both were totally different, but are placed in the early-romantic period. The motto, as the director Gijs de Lange said, to combine these two totally different pieces, was: 'Pre-romantic Post-modernism' or 'The fashion of the fashion'. As the designer I chose for a stage-setting where the singers were able to walk into the audience. The stage floor was covered with rough cotton, that could be seen as sand or a carpet. In the background photo's were projected of real flowers or flowers from tapestries. The costumes were designed in sparkling colors, a parody of fashion today, with a wink to historical influences.