Michael Heltau

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Michael Heltau in It's Always Now (2012)

Michael Heltau , actually Michael Heribert Huber (born July 5, 1933 in Ingolstadt ) is a German or Austrian actor and chansonnier . In 1968 he was granted Austrian citizenship. He lives in Austria .


As a child, Heltau came to Austria in the Salzkammergut , where he also attended school. He completed his acting training at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna. He then made his debut in Würzburg , from where Fritz Kortner brought him to the Munich Residenztheater . This was followed by the Theater in der Josefstadt and the Volkstheater in Vienna, the Schiller Theater and the Theater am Kurfürstendamm in Berlin , the Hamburg Schauspielhaus and the Hamburg Thalia Theater . From 1959 to 1961 he made guest appearances at the Ruhr Festival in Recklinghausen and since 1964 regularly at the Salzburg Festival , where he initially played the good fellow in Jedermann alongside Walther Reyer .

In 1963 the big breakthrough took place as Troilus in William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida at the Vienna Volkstheater and immediately afterwards at the Hamburger Schauspielhaus. In 1965 he played Bassa Selim under the direction of Giorgio Strehler in the quickly legendary production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Seragl for the Salzburg Festival (set and costumes: Luciano Damiani , conductor Zubin Mehta ; with Anneliese Rothenberger , Fritz Wunderlich and others ), which was shown with Heltau until 1974. This hitherto neglected role came to the fore for the first time through Heltau and Strehler. The actor and the director worked together several times later, both at the festival (Heltau as Heinrich VI. In The Game of the Mighty after William Shakespeare in the Felsenreitschule ) and at the Vienna Burgtheater (1974 trilogy of summer holidays by Carlo Goldoni ; 1975 Das Game of the Mighty; 1994 Die Giant vom Berge by Luigi Pirandello ) and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris (Mackie Messer in the French version of Die Dreigroschenoper , 1986/87).

The Vienna Burgtheater in particular has been closely linked to his name since the 1970s, as it has enjoyed great success there for decades. In addition, he played in many other theaters in Germany and Austria in the course of his career. He was also repeatedly heard with literary solo programs and he also spoke audio books. In addition to the stage, he also played in several films, but his passion was always the live experience on stage.

In addition to his acting activities, he was also able to celebrate great success as a singer. Many of his vocal programs have also been televised and released on phonograms. His musical repertoire includes the German-language interpretations of the chansons by Jacques Brel , Charles Aznavour , Charles Trenet and others. In addition to his interpretations of French-Belgian chansons, he sang songs from operettas and musicals and is also considered an important Viennese song interpreter.

In June 2014, at the age of almost 81, it was not the first time that Heltau spoke publicly about his homosexuality in an interview with ORF . He had been dating Dutch actor, director, writer and translator Loek Huisman from the age of 20 , who died on December 29, 2017 at the age of 91. The two were a couple for over 64 years and after the death of his partner in spring 2018, at the age of 84, Heltau finally said goodbye to the stage and confirmed this decision during the presentation of the CD and DVD of his last solo program A blue balloon would like to have ! at the Vienna Burgtheater.


Heltau played almost all roles in his respective subject. He was Orlando in Shakespeare's As You Like It , embodied the leading role in Friedrich Schiller's Don Karlos and Tellheim in Minna von Barnhelm in the Theater in der Josefstadt, Hamlet and Romeo at the Vienna Volkstheater (director: Gustav Manker ). There he received the Karl Skraup Prize for the portrayal of Dr. Jura in Hermann Bahr's The Concert .

At the Burgtheater in the 1970s and 1980s, Heltau was one of the most formative protagonists, playing Arthur Schnitzler's Anatol , Theodor in Liebelei , Sala in Der einsame Weg , Kari Bühl in Hofmannsthal's Der Schwierige, Harold Pinter's Lenny in Heimkehr and Tristan Tzara in Tom Stoppard's Travesties. He gave Schiller's Wallenstein under the direction of Manfred Wekwerth . In Richard II by Shakespeare, Heltau played under the direction of the castle director at the time, Gerhard Klingenberg . Directed by Peter Wood Heltau 1981 was the Mozart in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, 1988-1999, he was seen in Maxim Gorky's the sun Children under the direction of the outgoing Burg Director Achim Benning , in Cesare Lievis staging of Pirandello's Henry IV. He played the title role. His last role at the Burgtheater (Akademietheater) was the man in Edward Albee's Play About Baby, 1999.

At the Theater an der Wien , Heltau was the Bluntschli in the Udo Jürgens musical Helden, Helden (after George Bernard Shaw). For this he received the Kainz Medal of the City of Vienna in 1972 . In addition, he made a name for himself on records and in his own show evenings as a German-speaking interpreter of the songs and chansons of Jacques Brel (broadcast by Werner Schneyder and Loek Huisman ), who had personally commissioned Heltau to present his work in the German-speaking area. In addition, Heltau was seen in numerous TV shows, especially as a presenter in the song circus for ZDF . Further musical stage programs were Auf d'Nacht, Herr Director ; But now, sir ; My people ; Classical ; My time ; Instead of playing ; Once again, Mr. Director and I would like to have a blue balloon!

The first of Heltau's many recordings was made in 1964: Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther . At the Weimar Culture Festival in 1990 he was the first guest with his Goethe program in the Goethe Theater Bad Lauchstädt and in the Goethe House on Frauenplan. He subsequently became a member of the board of trustees of this festival.

In 1993 Michael Heltau achieved great success with the public and the press as Professor Higgins in Frederick Loewes My Fair Lady at the Vienna Volksoper and also appeared in this role at the Berlin Metropoltheater. He was also Honoré Lachailles in Loewes Gigi at the Volksoper .

At the Theater an der Wien, at Riccardo Muti's request, Heltau re-studied the Strehler production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro , which was later shown at the festival in Ravenna .

Heltau is also active as a film actor, he had a supporting role in the film Hubertus Castle based on a novel by Ludwig Ganghofer in 1954 , played with Hans Albers and Romy Schneider in The Last Man in 1955 and with Maria Schneider in Reigen under the direction of Otto Schenk , 1973. In addition, he read in various audio books , including works by Joseph Roth .

Filmography (selection)

honors and awards


  • Monika Mertl: On cue: Michael Heltau. Deuticke Verlag, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-552-06086-9 .
  • Michael Heltau: Auf d'Nacht, Mr. Director! Moments from the milieu, collected by Michael Heltau, Gabriela Brandenstein, Claudia Kaufmann-Freßner, Peter Michael Braunwarth. Styria Verlag, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-222-13374-9 .
  • Michael Heltau: Now. Michael Heltau and the Viennese theater musicians. BOOK-let with photos by Christoph A. Hellhake. Burgtheater - Preiser Records 2013, PR 91249.
  • Dieter Kranz : Michael Heltau - a comedian and more . In: Ernst Günther, Heinz P. Hofmann, Walter Rösler (eds.): Cassette. Rock, pop, hit songs, revue, circus, cabaret, magic - an almanac (=  cassette ). No. 7 . Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin 1984, p. 43-50 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Heltau - Outing with 80 in the ORF III artist talks , on youtube.com, accessed on September 21, 2019.
  2. Actor and Heltau partner Loek Huisman died , In: derstandard.de, January 5, 2018, accessed on September 21, 2019.
  3. Michael Heltau - the honored chansonnier , In: n-tv.de, July 5, 2018, accessed on: September 21, 2019.
  4. Monika Mertl: Michael Heltau says goodbye. In: The press. November 24, 2018, accessed February 2, 2019 .
  5. Audio books with the speaker Michael Heltau. Retrieved January 23, 2018 .
  6. ^ Biography Michael Heltau. On: michaelheltau.at.
  7. Mozart Community Vienna awards “Golden Mozart Ring” to Heltau. The Wander-Ring donated in 1995 is transferred from Angelika Kirchschlager to Michael Heltau. On: ots.at. APA dated February 8, 2008.
  8. The Vienna Burgtheater now awards a ring together with honorary membership. In: Nachtkritik.de. October 20, 2010, accessed December 26, 2013 .
  9. Burgtheater: Michael Heltau received the honor ring from colleagues. In: tt.com =. June 25, 2014, accessed March 5, 2020 .
  10. Mayor Michael Ludwig presented Michael Heltau with the "Golden Vienna Cup" . OTS notification dated June 7, 2019, accessed June 7, 2019.