Siegfried Melchinger

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Siegfried Melchinger (born November 22, 1906 in Stuttgart , † March 2, 1988 in Höchenschwand ) was a German theater critic .


Melchinger was born as the son of the Chief Postal Inspector August Melchinger and his wife Gerda (née Keyn). He attended the Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium Stuttgart . After graduating from school in the spring of 1924, he studied German and classical philology in Munich and Tübingen , with Heinrich Wölfflin , Franz Muncker and Johannes Mewaldt , among others . In 1927 he received his doctorate in Tübingen under Hermann Schneider on the fight of the storm and urge against the drama of the Enlightenment . After graduating, he worked as a theater critic and editor in Frankfurt am Main , Stuttgart , Berlin , Munich and Vienna. As head of department of the Frankfurter General-Anzeiger , he interpreted the cultural events in the National Socialist sense. In November 1938 he took part in a tour of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt am Main to the Balkans as a correspondent for the Völkischer Beobachter . In December 1938, after the November pogrom, he wrote in an anti-Semitic text on Elisabeth Bergner , which only came to the public posthumously in the early 1990s: "The senseless overestimation of her acting is a symptom of Jewish rule. This was where systemic Judaism set the tone Idol found. "

Released from military service due to illness, he wrote as a theater critic for the Neue Wiener Tagblatt until 1948 . Melchinger was then chief dramaturge and deputy director of the Josefstadt theater in Vienna until 1950 . As early as 1946 he published under the pseudonym Ulrich Keyn, among others about Rainer Maria Rilke. In the early 1950s he worked as a journalist in Munich. From 1953 to 1962 he headed the features section of the Stuttgarter Zeitung . 1963 followed a professorship for theater theory at the State University for Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart . In 1963 he became co-editor of the magazine Theater heute and was considered one of the most influential theater critics in Germany.

Even after his retirement in 1973, as in his History of Political Theater (1971), he dealt with the theory of critical theater. In Das Theater der Tragödie (1974) Melchinger reconstructs the theatrical context of the plays by Aeschylus , Euripides and Sophocles .

He acted as a juror at the Berliner Theatertreffen , which he helped found. In 1978 he received the Sigmund Freud Prize for scientific prose . He was a member of the PEN center .

His son Ulrich Melchinger was an opera director.


  • Battle of the storm and urge against the drama of the Enlightenment , 1928 (dissertation)
  • Dramaturgy of the storm and urge , print: FA Perthes, Gotha, 1929
  • as Ulrich Keyn: The Magician Kritschnamurti with drawings by Cefischer , Amandus Edition, 1946
  • as Ulrich Keyn: Letters to a travel companion An encounter with Rainer Maria Rilke , Alfred Ibach Verlag Vienna, 1947.
  • Contemporary theater (1956)
  • Modern world theater (1956)
  • Drama between Shaw and Brecht (1957)
  • Attempt at self-criticism (1959)
  • Harlequin, picture book of jesters (1958, with W. Jäggi)
  • Gründgens Faust (1959, with Gustaf Gründgens )
  • Music theater (1961, with Walter Felsenstein )
  • Spheres and Days (1962)
  • Shakespeare in the modern world theater (1964)
  • Actor (1965, with Rosemarie Clausen )
  • Sophocles (1966)
  • Euripides (1967)
  • Caspar Neher (1966)
  • Anton Chekhov (1968)
  • History of Political Theater (1971)
  • The Theater of Tragedy (1974)
  • The world as tragedy (vol. 1: Aeschylus, Sophocles 1979, vol. 2: Euripides 1980)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bettina Schältke: Theater or Propaganda? Die Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt am Main 1933–1945 , Edition 40 of Studies on Frankfurt History, Waldemar Kramer, Frankfurt am Main, 1997 ISBN 978-3-7829-0464-3 , p. 188
  2. Actors - A nasty surprise - Debate feature section on
  3. Today in the feature sections: "Eerie sweet touches". In: Spiegel Online . December 17, 2009, accessed June 9, 2018 .