Born in Berlin in 1801, actor and composer Albert Lortzing developed comic operas that became popular in Germany, yet he died poor. A man of the theater for the average town, Lortzing gained practical experience acting and singing. Initially content to write for an audience drawn to undemanding entertainment, Lortzing developed into an author of operas welcomed in German theaters. Lortzing's parents performed in theater, specializing in comic characters. Lortzing became a popular actor, and in 1824 composed his first one-act opera, premiering in Munster.