Zar und Zimmermann, Albert Lortzing

Title Zar und Zimmermann or Die zwei Peter
English Title Tsar and Carpenter
Composer Albert Lortzing
Librettists Albert Lortzing after Le Bourgmestre de Sardam, or Les Deux Pierres, a play by A.H.J. Mélesville, J.T. Merle and E.C. de Boirie
Language German, Dutch translation available
Genre Comic opera in three acts
First performance 22nd December, 1837, Municipal Theatre, Leipzig
Time of action In the summer of 1697
Place of action

Zaandam in the Netherlands

  1. A shipyard
  2. An inn
  3. Town hall
Main parts
  • Tsar Peter the Great, baritone
  • Peter Iwanov, tenor
  • Van Bet, burgomaster, comic bass
  • Marie, soprano
  • Admiral Lefort, bas
  • Lord Syndham , bas
  • Marquis of Châteauneuf, tenor
  • Widow Bruin, contralto
Prominence of chorus Considerable
Orchestra 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani/percussion, strings
Special demands Only a large orchestra will do justice to this work
Full score and orchestral parts Available
Level The choruses are not difficult. Soloists’ parts are a different matter.
Length About 2½ hours. Three acts.

Full operatic splendour. Magnificent choruses, a lovely sextet, amusing duets, a stirring carpenters’ song, the burgomaster’s renowned buffo-aria (O sancta justitia), Châteauneuf’s lyrical song (Lebe wohl, mein flandrisches mädchen), it is all musically highly attractive. Other highlights: the rehearsal scene, in which the citizens try to master the subtleties of a cantata composed by the burgomaster, with varying success, and of course the ever popular clog-dance.


Tsar Peter the Great has taken up residence at Zaandam, Holland, under an assumed name, in order to learn the craft of shipbuilding. Another Russion has found employment at the same yard, Peter Iwanov, a deserter. Soon the rumour of the tsar’s presence reaches the burgomaster, who decides to pay ceremonial homage to the exalted personage. However, he mistakes the deserter for the tsar, which results in a number of complications. In the end the tsar returns to Russia, and Iwanov escapes punishment: instead, he is united with his beloved Marie, the burgomaster’s niece and ward.

Costumes Regional period dress for the chorus. Late 17th century constume for soloists. No dress-changes.
Link Wikipedia

< The Yeomen of the Guard | Track | Der Zigeunerbaron >

Tags: Lortzing | Knoppers