Gisela May (born May, 31 1924) is a distinguished German character actress of theatre and a singer, critically acclaimed for performing the songs written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. She also appeared as a film and TV actress in a number of movies between 1951 and 1991.

Gisela May studied at the drama school in Leipzig. She was employed for nine years at various theatres, including the State Theatre of Schwerin and the State Theatre in Halle. From 1951 she was engaged at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Max Reinhardt’s former workplace. She played a variety of roles from the classics to modern.

In 1962 Gisela May moved to Bertolt Brecht’s theatre group, the Berliner Ensemble, to which she belonged for 30 years. Here she played many roles including Madame Cabet in “The Days of the Commune,” Mrs Peachum in “The Threepenny Opera,and ” Mrs Kopecka in “Schweik in the Second World War.” The theatrical highlight in Brecht’s stage work was her personification of Mother Courage. This performance was for about 13 years until the end of 1992 central to the repertoire of the Berliner Ensemble. Since 1992, the artist has been freelance, often working at Berlin’s Renaissance Theatre.

Gisela May’s second career as a chanteuse ran parallel to her acting. The composer Hanns Eisler valued her particularly for her command of Brecht’s style, and worked with her.

In addition to song interpretation Gisela May has experience in the Musicals: in Hello Dolly, she performed as the title character at the Metropol Theatre in Berlin, as well as Fraulein Schneider in “Cabaret” at the “Theater des Westens”.

Tours through Europe, across America and Australia have taken her to New York at Carnegie Hall, to the Sydney Opera House and La Scala, Milan. In 1989 she performed in London at a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the DDR.

May has been internationally acclaimed as First Lady of the Political Song and Best Brecht Interpreter. She has performed all over the world for the past forty years. May was one of the leading artists in the former DDR from the early fifties onward. She enjoyed an intensive collaboration with composer Hanns Eisler and was attached as an actress to the Berliner Ensemble for thirty years, until she was fired in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


A1 Augen In Der Gross-Stadt
A2 Lamento
A3 Sie Zu Ihm
A4 Die Nachfolgerin
A5 Das Lied Von Der Gleichgültigkeit
A6 Das Lächeln Der Mona Lisa
A7 Chanson – Japanlied

B1 Das Leibregiment
B2 Wenn Eena Jeborn Wird
B3 Wenn Eena Dot Is
B4 Mutterns Hände
B5 Der Graben
B6 Rote Melodie
B7 Krieg Dem Kriege

Gisela May – Singt Tucholsky (Amiga, 1967)

(320 kbps, cover art included)