The Austrian theatre genius Max Reinhardt was born on 9 September 1873. He founded the Salzburg Festival, owned several theatres, including the Deutsches Theater, and opened the Großes Schauspielhaus in 1919, from which the Friedrichstadt-Palast emerged in 1947. To mark tomorrow’s 150th birthday of its founder of Jewish descent, the Palast will raise the flag: “Jewish roots since 1919” in front of the house until after the premiere week of the FALLING | IN LOVE Grand Show.
Fig. above: Stele vor dem Friedrichstadt-Palast / Photo: Friedrichstadt-Palast
The memory of Herr Professor, as Reinhardt was respectfully called back then, is held in great honour at the Palast. At the instigation of artistic director Berndt Schmidt, a memorial sign has stood in a prominent place in front of the building since 2015, commemorating the three founders of our stage tradition: Max Reinhardt, the architect Hans Poelzig and the revue maker Erik Charell. All three suffered in one way or another under the National Socialists from 1933 onwards, Reinhardt as a Jew, Charell as a Jew and homosexual and Poelzig as an expressionist, in Nazi jargon “degenerate”, artist and architect.
For the centenary performance on 29 November 2019, curated by Administrative Director Guido Herrmann, the first voice of the evening on stage was an audio recording by Max Reinhardt.
Reinhardt’s spirit even hovers over the new Grand Show, which premieres on 11 October (previews from 21 September). Intendant Berndt Schmidt worked and stayed at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg for a few days in February. Leopoldskron was Reinhardt’s property from 1918 until it was expropriated by the National Socialists in 1938. At Reinhardt’s favourite workplace in his magnificent library, Schmidt also developed the final show name: FALLING | IN LOVE.
These two poles, the feeling of falling and falling and yet, alongside all the fright and doubt, the belief in humanity as a whole and in the ultimate victory of good (falling in love), also run through Reinhardt’s life. In the show name, this duality and ambiguity of feelings is made clear by the hyphen.
Intendant Berndt Schmidt: “Mazel tov on your 150th birthday, dear Professor! You died 80 years ago, on 31 October 1943, in exile in New York, in our thoughts you live on. The Palace proudly and above all responsibly acknowledges its Jewish roots. We do not forget what crimes right-wing extremists are capable of in words and in deeds. We stand up for democracy, freedom and diversity.”
More information on the memorial to the founding fathers of the Friedrichstadt-Palast:
Further information on the Grand Show FALLING | IN LOVE:
Previews: from Thursday, 21. September 2023
Première: Wednesday, 11. October 2023
Tickets ab 19,80 Euro