Johann Nestroy


November 30, 2021

Johann Nepomuk Eduard Ambrosius Nestroy (born December 7, 1801 in Vienna, † May 25, 1862 in Graz) was an Austrian playwright, actor and opera singer (bass). His work is the literary highlight of the old Viennese folk theater.


Johann Nepomuk Nestroy was born as the second of eight children to a respected Viennese bourgeois family. Like his father, the Viennese “court and court advocate” Johann Nestroy, who immigrated from Moravia-Silesia, he was supposed to become a lawyer, but he was more interested in the theater. Nestroy attended the Academic Gymnasium from 1811 to 1813, then from 1814 the Schottengymnasium, in the same year his mother Magdalena died on April 15th. That year he made his first public appearance as a pianoforte player in a concert. Nestroy began studying philosophy in 1819 and law from 1820 at the University of Vienna, but at that time he was already singing a bass solo part by Georg Friedrich Handel in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg. He finished his studies in 1822 and began his career as a bassist at the Kärntnertortheater and at the Vienna Court Opera as Sarastro in Mozart's Magic Flute. In 1823 he went to the Hoogduitse Schouwburg Amsterdam (Deutsche Theater) in Amsterdam as a singer, where he made his debut on October 18 as Kaspar in Weber's Der Freischütz and stayed for three years. Later he became an actor at the theaters in Brno (1826), where the police banned him from the stage because of extemporating, in Graz (1826) with director Johann August Stöger, where he wrote and played his first farce himself in 1827, alternating also on the stage of Pressburg. He switched from the opera to the theater stage, because his role in Twelve Girls in Uniform (he played the Sansquartier) convinced him of his comic talent. In 1829 he had a guest role in the Josefstädter Theater in Vienna, then in 1831 he got an engagement to Lemberg and made his debut there as Rappelkopf in Raimund's Der Alpenkönig und der Menschenfeind. Fled from Lviv due to a cholera epidemic, he got his first engagement in 1831 from director Carl Carl at the Theater an der Wien as a playwright and comedian, where his career as an avid theater writer began. His father died in 1834, and in the same year he turned from the magic pieces of his early days as a writer to the local farce, parody and popular satire. In 1836 he received a prison sentence for extemporating, which he served from January 16 to 21, in September of that year he was engaged as a guest in Graz for the first time. In this and the following years he completed major summer tours abroad every year, which took him to Hamburg (1841) and Berlin (1844). In 1838 director Carl also took over the Leopoldstädter Theater, so that from 1839 Nestroy had to write and act for two stages. During the revolution of 1848, Nestroy took advantage of the abolition of censorship as an author, a situation that did not last long, however. Some of his pieces in the period after that were therefore not released for performance by him and only became known to us from his estate. From November 1854 to November 1860, after Carl's death, Nestroy was director of the Carltheater in Leopoldstadt. In 1857 his favorite stage colleague Wenzel Scholz died. He spent the last years of his life in Graz, where he bought a house in May 1859, as well as a villa in Bad Ischl in August. Nestroy's last role in Vienna was Knieriem in Der böse Geist Lumpazivagabundus in the Theater am Franz-Josefs-Kai by his colleague Karl Treumann in March 1862, and for the last time he was on stage in Graz on April 29 of this year. Along with Raimund, he was probably the most popular Viennese folk play author of the Vormärz and a predecessor of Ludwig Anzengruber.

Marriage to Wilhelmine Nespiesni

Maria Wilhelmine Philippine (von) Nespiesni (* 1804 in Vienna; † 1870 there) was the illegal

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