Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Adolph Meltzer


Born on 16 June 1874 in Lemberg, Galicia. Father -- a pious man, a money lender to thieves. He learned in a cheder and privately with a teacher, the ekir Yiddish and German he sang with cantors, a long time with Cantor Baruch Schorr.

After the death of his parents, he became an employee in a manufacturing business, and on the initiative of friends in 1890 he was taken in by the conductor Perlmutter as a chorister in Gimpel's troupe. Two to three years later, M. performed in solo numbers and debuted as "Mordechai" in "Ahasuerus." Then he went over to Akselrad in Czernowitz, where he acted as the first singer-lover (such as in "Bar kochba", etc.), later touring with Tanentsap across Galicia, and then he acted in Budapest with Akselrad.

When the former first Yiddish actors of Lemberg immigrated to America, M. was taken (since 1899) the oybn-on in Yiddish theatre in Lemberg, where he remained until 1901, then went in six months to Berlin and returned to Lemberg, where he acted (besides a half-year with Ziebel and Schilling in Vienna, and a short time with Akselrad in Czernowitz) until 1909, becoming popular as one of the prominent Yiddish actors in Galicia.

Later M. organized under his own direction a troupe across Galicia, then joined Ashkenazi in Romania.


When M. married the prima donna Anna Brih, he began to lose his voice, and he went over to Gordin repertoire.

During the World War, M. for a short time served in the Austrian army, but after the death of his wife, he began to suffer from anxiety attacks, and even had to for a certain time be brought to a nerve institute, and when he was released, in order to make a living, he would sing in a cheap cabaret in Vienna.

M. later, for a second time got married, this time to the daughter of a religious teacher in Krakow, Moshe Yakob, who also was a Yiddish theatre censor in Krakow and had a concession in Yiddish theatre.

1918-1926 -- M. acted in Krakow and in the province. 1927 -- in Budapest, then again in Krakow. 1927-28 -- in the "Stefanie" Theatre, and in the "Reklame" Theatre in Vienna. Due to the new generation of Yiddish actors, they printed on a page and often oysgekumen to suffer from poverty.

1929 -- M. again received an attack of nerves, and isolated from the theatre family, he passed away on 4 August 1929.

M. had possessed a beautiful, lyrical tenor voice, and was a musician and had special success as "Absalom" in "Shulamis", "Bar kochba", "Ben hador", as well as in the plays of Shomer, Lateiner, Horowitz, but also in dramatic roles he had a large farerer cross: he acted as "R' Moshe" in David Pinski's "Di familye tsvi", had created "Ayzik" in Moshe Richter's "Hertsele myukhs", and "Ahrele" in Richter's "Shalom-bit", and excelled in Gordin repertoire.

Here he had -- according to Fishl Vitkover -- displayed as an artist a great importance. M. was one of the best in the role of "Betsalel rapoport" in "The Slaughter", "Rabbi Meir" in "Elisha ben Abuyah", "Ben Zion" in "Der meturef", and "Der vilder mensh".

"M. had -- according to Sholem Perlmutter -- his "Hershele Duubrovner" in "God, Man and Devil" quite different oygefast, and his artistic painting".

M. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 147.

  • F. V. [Vitkover] -- Adolf meltser z'l, "Der morgn", Lemberg, 8 August 1929.

  • Sholem Perlmutter -- Galitsye hot farlorn ir grestn shoyshpiler, "Der tog", N. Y., 6 September 1929.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1352.

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