Lewinsky made his first appearance on stage when he was only nineteen, but his breakthrough came when Heinrich Laube brought him to the Vienna Burgtheater, where he debuted in the role of Franz Moor in Schiller’s The Robbers. Within a short period he won renown as an actor, and was granted in 1865 the title of ‘court actor’ at the young age of thirty, and in 1872 became ‘director-in-effect’. Lewinsky remained at the Burgtheater for forty-eight years, and did not bid farewell to its stage – on which he had performed 300 roles – until 1906.
Lewinsky first gained a reputation with the smaller, episodic roles which he had a particular talent for rendering and emphasizing – probably a result of Laube’s recommended ensemble acting style. Of all the great Shakespearean roles his Iago and Richard III were singled out as particularly worthy by his contemporaries. So far as his other activities are concerned, Lewinsky was best known as a reciter of material – including Shakespeare sonnets – he selected for public readings.
- Enobarbus (Anthony and Cleopatra)
- Menenius Agrippa (Coriolanus)
- First Actor/Hamlet/Polonius (Hamlet)
- Worcester/Archbishop of York (Henry lV)
- Charles Vl (Henry V)
- Cardinal Winchester/Richard (Henry Vl)
- Cassius (Julius Caesar)
- Shylock (The Merchant of Venice)
- John (King John)
- Lear/Fool (King Lear)
- Iago (Othello)
- John of Gaunt (Richard ll)
- Richard III (Richard III)
- Brother Lawrence (Romeo and Juliet)
- Camillo (The Winter’ Tale)
- Lewinski, Olga (ed.): Kleine Schriften dramaturgischen und theatergeschichtlichen Inhalts von Josef Lewinsky. Vienna, 1910.
- Richter, Helene: Josef Lewinsky. Fünfzig Jahre Wiener Kunst und Kultur. Zum hundertfünfzigjährigen Jubiläum des Burgtheaters mit Unterstützung der Stadt Wien herausgegeben. Vienna, 1926.
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Citation and Licence
Lewinsky, Josef, in: The Digital Shakespeare Memorial Album. Edited by Christa Jansohn. URI: http://www.shakespearealbum.de/uri/gnd/116972068. (Accessed on 23.04.2019)
This text is published under the following licence: CC BY-ND 3.0 DE. Digitzed media reproduced with the permission of the library of Birmingham.