Adolf Dresen

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grave of Adolf Dresen in the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof in Berlin.

Adolf Dresen (born March 31, 1935 in Eggesin ; † July 11, 2001 in Leipzig ) was a German theater and opera director .


After attending the Roßleben monastery school and graduating from high school in Thale in 1953, Dresen studied German language and literature in Leipzig from 1953 to 1959, where he was an amateur player and director of the Leipzig student theater . During an internship at the Berliner Ensemble , he got to know the playing style of epic theater . After completing his studies, he worked from 1959 to 1962 as a theater director in Magdeburg and then in Greifswald. It was here that he was released in 1964 after a controversial production of Hamlet . For this reason he worked as an unskilled worker on a derrick in the Grimmen Oil Combine (Mecklenburg).

From 1965 to 1977 Adolf Dresen was a director at the Deutsches Theater Berlin . His staging of Goethe's Faust , which he was responsible for together with the director of the German Theater at the time, Wolfgang Heinz , was particularly significant . They interpreted Faust by no means as the model figure she was until then in the socialist interpretation, but rather as an "intellectual plagued by self-doubt and resigned". The premiere was one of the biggest theater scandals in the GDR. The party and state leadership missed “everything positive” and saw the performance as a “withdrawal of Goethe's humanism”. Extensive changes were requested. In order to circumvent a ban, the director and director made concessions. The production was then staged with great success for five years and was the initial spark for a new reception of classics in the GDR theater.

1977 moved Dresen after the expatriation of Wolf Biermann to West Germany through. This was followed by an engagement at the Vienna Burgtheater from 1977 to 1981 (there, among others, Emilia Galotti with Klaus Maria Brandauer ) and in 1979 first opera works in Hamburg. From 1981 to 1985 Dresen was acting director in Frankfurt am Main. He then worked as a freelance opera director at numerous stages and operas in Europe, including Brussels ( Fidelio , 1989), Paris Théâtre du Châtelet , Vienna State Opera (1986 Wozzeck by Alban Berg , set design, costumes: Herbert Kapplmüller , conductor Claudio Abbado ; 1992 Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner , set design, costumes: Kapplmüller, conductor Christoph von Dohnányi ) and at the Royal Opera London .

In addition to his theater work, Dresen was also active as a writer. He left behind 420 poems, 65 prose texts, some autobiographical and dream notes.

Adolf Dresen died in Leipzig in 2001 .

His son Andreas Dresen is a film director .

Productions (selection)

Filmography (selection)



  • Siegfried's Forgetting: Culture between Consensus and Conflict. Ch. Links Verlag , Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-86153-041-4 . (New edition 2011)
  • with Thomas Zabka: poets and directors: remarks about the director's theater. Wallstein, Göttingen 1995, ISBN 3-89244-182-0 .
  • Adolf Dresen - How much freedom does art need? Speeches, letters, verses, games 1964 to 1999 (= Theater of Time / Research. 3). Edited by Maik Hamburger. Theater der Zeit, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-934344-00-3 .
  • Marx Studies 1976: On the Critique of Marx's Economy . Basisdruck-Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86163-124-8 .
  • The individual and the whole. On the critique of Marx's economy. (Theater of Time / Research 93). Edited by Friedrich Dieckmann. Theater der Zeit, Berlin, 2012, ISBN 978-3-943881-04-2 .
  • Opposition with classics. My work at the Deutsches Theater . In: Through the Iron Curtain. Theater in divided Germany from 1945 to 1990 . Edited by Henning Rischbieter. Ullstein Buchverlag GmbH & Co. KG, Propylaen Verlag Berlin 1999, pp. 98-105
  • Maik Hamburger (Ed.): Adolf Dresen: The void between the stars: stories, poems & dreams (= archive sheets. 20). Academy of Arts, Archive, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-88331-148-7 .


Individual evidence

  1. In connection with Dresen's book How Much Freedom Does Art Need? Opernwelt magazine commented in 2001: "An intellectual worker who pushes his nose outside the box to oil rigs or iron smelting, inevitably enjoys the bonus of [...] not being locked in the ivory tower of high culture. At a time when theater subsidies having to assert with difficulty against their other […] dispositions, it is a clever move, naturally elitist reflections on the question: 'Why did Hamlet kill Polonius?' to be combined with a handy proof of adherence to the ground "( Christoph Kammertöns , review in Opernwelt 6/2001, p. 62).
  2. Petra Stuber: Scope and Limits. Studies on the GDR theater . Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-86153-171-2 , p. 231
  3. ^ Adolf Dresen: Opposition with classics. My work at the Deutsches Theater . In: Through the Iron Curtain. Theater in divided Germany from 1945 to 1990 . Edited by Henning Rischbieter. Ullstein Buchverlag GmbH & Co. KG, Propylaen Verlag Berlin 1999, p. 98
  4. , accessed on October 24, 2016

Web links