Notes on Nestroy
Johann Nepomuk Nestroy (1801-1862)
The second of eight children of a respected family,
Johann Nepomuk Nestroy - the not very German-
sounding name goes back to Polish Silesia - was born in
Vienna in 1801.
Quitting the study of law because of his enthusiasm for
theater and music, Nestroy soon signed a contract as a
basso singer with the leading opera house. After a brief
marriage he divorced his wife, who had eloped with a
count, and then lived with his Lebensgefährtin, the
celebrated actress Marie Weiler. Expanding his repertory
to include ever more acting roles, especially comic ones,
he scored especially with his forte, the grotesque,
ranging from aggressive satire to the art of
“wordsmithing.“ Tall, loose-jointed, and endowed with
an unusually expressive face, his appearance no doubt
played a role in making him the most acclaimed actor of
his day.
He drew crowds from among the suburban population as
well as nobility and city dandies, his fame reaching
beyond Vienna to Pressburg (then also known as
Pozsony in Hungarian) and Brünn (Brno in Czech) in
Moravia, both major cultural centers of the Austro-
Hungarian Monarchy. At thirty, he was so successful
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