Die Buddenbrooks
Die Buddenbrooks
© Christina Baumann-Canaval


Thomas Mann

Adapted for the stage by John von Düffel

Premiere: 25 November 2022 / Salzburg State Theatre


This story of the past is a story of today. Because today’s society is a society of the past.

Business comes first for the Buddenbrooks. The family is the company and the company is the family. Everything, even the choice of life partners, is subject to the dictate of the maximisation of profits. The merchant family is well off, but its drive and cheerful entrepreneurial spirit are decreasing from generation to generation. After the death of the father, the eldest son Thomas takes over the long-established company and plans a political career. His marriage to the artistically talented Gerda soon cools off, his expectations in his son Johannes, called Hanno, are disappointed. His brother Christian is more interested in living the good life than in becoming an industrious merchant and is increasingly plagued by health problems. And his fun-loving sister Tony drowns in the constraints of the haute bourgeoisie – her failed marriages to Grünlich, who goes bankrupt, and the exotic Bavarian Permaneder damage the family’s reputation.

The system of values that seemed intact in the generation of the parents becomes the undoing of their offspring. The slow decline of the once wealthy and influential Buddenbrooks is unstoppable.

Thomas Mann’s (1875–1955) novel “Buddenbrooks” is a masterpiece of the 20th century and earned him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. It is as relevant now as it was at the time of its writing. The work traces an economic crisis, the overthrowing of social hierarchies and the downfall of a family. In his stage adaptation, John von Düffel (*1966) masterfully concentrates on the core of the multi-layered family story and turns it into a highly effective stage play.

Alexandra Liedtke has directed many drama and opera productions at the Salzburg State Theatre. She also works for the Vienna State Opera, the Theater in der Josefstadt and the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. The stage is designed by Philip Rubner, who has worked for the Volkstheater Wien and the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. Costume designer Su Bühler has for instance been active at the Vienna Burgtheater, the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival.