Devrient family



  • The great German actor Ludwig Devrient (1784 - 1832); hiseldest nephew, the actor Karl August Devrient (1797 - 1872) andhis son Max Devrient (1857 - 1929); another nephew, the operasinger, actor, and director Eduard Devrient (1801 - 77) and hisson Otto Devrient (1838 - 94); and a third nephew, the actor EmilDevrient (1803 - 72).

    Ludwig Devrient has been called the greatest tragedianof the Romantic stage in Germany. Ludwig, whose style has often beencompared to Edmund Kean's, performed at the Court Theatrein Dessau before moving to Berlin in 1814. Among his famous roleswere Shakespeare's King Lear and Richard III and Franz Moor in Schiller'sDie Räuber. A decision to assign him only comedy rolescontributed to his later descent into alcoholism.

    Karl Devrient began acting in 1819; he performedat the Court Theatre in Dresden (1821 - 35) and at Karlsruhe (1835 - 39)before moving to Hanover. He was acclaimed in works by Schiller, Goethe,and Shakespeare. Karl's son Max Devrient made his debut in1878 in Dresden and later appeared in both tragedy and comedy at theVienna Burgtheater and throughout Germany.

    Eduard Devrient began as an opera singer in Berlinbut from 1844 to 1852 worked at the Court Theatre in Dresden as anactor and director. In 1852 he became director of the Court Theatreat Karlsruhe where he concentrated on the German classics. In 1874Eduard published the first history of the German stage, Geschichteder deutschen Schauspielkunst. Eduard trained his son OttoDevrient, who acted at Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Berlin, and Leipzigbefore becoming stage director at Karlsruhe in 1863; ten years laterhe went to Weimar as a director and dramatist (writing three tragedies).In 1876 Otto produced a controversial version of Goethe's Faustin the style of a mystery play.

    Emil Devrient began acting at Brunswick in 1821 andachieved some success before joining the Court Theatre in Dresdenin 1831, where he remained until his retirement. He was highly praisedfor his performances as Goethe's Tasso and Egmont, and as Hamlet,a role that he played in London in 1852 and 1853.