Schlosstheater Schwetzingen

Last updated
Schlosstheater Schwetzingen
Schwetzingen Schlosstheater Blick vom Parkett 1.jpg
View of the hall
Alternative names
  • Hoftheater
  • Hofoper
  • Comoedienhaus
General information
Location Schwetzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Coordinates 49°23′07″N8°34′07″E / 49.38528°N 8.56861°E / 49.38528; 8.56861 Coordinates: 49°23′07″N8°34′07″E / 49.38528°N 8.56861°E / 49.38528; 8.56861
Construction started1752 (1752)
Completed1753 (1753)
Design and construction
Architect Nicolas de Pigage

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen (Schwetzingen palace theater) is a court theater in Schwetzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The historic building, opened in 1753, is part of Schloss Schwetzingen and since 1952 the principal venue of the Schwetzingen Festival. It is also called Hoftheater (court theater), Hofoper (court opera), and Comoedienhaus (comedy house). The frequently applied name Rokokotheater (Rococo theater) is misleading, because it shows also neoclassical elements, added in 1762.



Plan by Nicolas de Pigage Schwetzingen-Schloss-1762-02.png
Plan by Nicolas de Pigage

Karl Theodor, the Pfalzgraf who resided in Mannheim, had the theater built for his summer residence in Schwetzingen in 1752 to the plans of court architect Nicolas de Pigage. [1] It was opened on 15 June 1753, presenting Ignaz Holzbauer's opera Il figlio delle selve. [2] The theater could then be considered a rococo creation, but was expanded with early neoclassical tendencies. While it first had no boxes, it was enlarged in 1762, creating a "box-like" impression. It is the oldest surviving Rangtheater (theater with boxless tiers) in Europe. [3] The Mozart family visited the theater in 1763 and saw a play. [1] [4] When Karl Theodor succeeded Maximilian III Joseph of Bavaria as Elector of Bavaria in 1777, the court had to move to Munich and the theater lost its importance. Its original stage machinery was preserved into the 20th century, but it was replaced by modern facilities in the 1950s and again in the 1970s.

As part of the Residenz in the Schwetzingen Castle, it first belonged to the Electors, later to the Land Baden, then the state Baden-Württemberg.


The theater is a fitting location for operas and plays from the Baroque and classical period. Voltaire's L'orphelin de la Chine was premiered in 1755, his tragedy Olimpie was premiered in 1762, staged by Cosimo Alessandro Collini (1727–1806). [5] [6] Francesca Lebrun, the sister of Franz Danzi, a leading singer of the Mannheim Opera, performed, for example, the part of Parthenia in Anton Schweitzer's Alceste in Schwetzingen in 1775.

Schwetzingen Festival

Since 1952 the theater has been the main venue of the Schwetzinger Festspiele (Schwetzingen Festival), which also presents contemporary operas. More than 35 operas have been commissioned and premiered, [7] including works by Hans Werner Henze, Werner Egk, Udo Zimmermann, Aribert Reimann, Salvatore Sciarrino, Adriana Hölszky, Bernhard Lang, Wolfgang Rihm, Michael Jarrell, Georg Friedrich Haas and Enno Poppe.

View of the stage Schwetzingen Schlosstheater Blick zur Buhne 1.jpg
View of the stage

Premieres have included

Each year the festival has presented the revival of a Baroque or classical opera. Holzbauer's Il figlio delle selve, which had opened the theater in 1753, was performed 250 years later in 2003. [8]


From 1969 the theater has been a venue of the Mozartfest, an annual festival in fall organized by the association Mozartgesellschaft Schwetzingen. [9]


Related Research Articles

Schwetzingen Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Schwetzingen is a German town situated in the northwest of Baden-Württemberg, around 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest of Heidelberg and 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of Mannheim. Schwetzingen is one of the five biggest cities of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis district and a medium-sized centre near the higher ranked city of Mannheim.

Hans Werner Henze 1926-2012 German composer

Hans Werner Henze was a German composer. His large oeuvre of works is extremely varied in style, having been influenced by serialism, atonality, Stravinsky, Italian music, Arabic music and jazz, as well as traditional schools of German composition. In particular, his stage works reflect "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life".

Ignaz Jakob Holzbauer was a composer of symphonies, concertos, operas, and chamber music, and a member of the Mannheim school. His aesthetic style is in line with that of the Sturm und Drang "movement" of German art and literature.

Salvatore Sciarrino Italian composer

Salvatore Sciarrino is an Italian composer of contemporary classical music.

<i>Elegy for Young Lovers</i> opera

Elegy for Young Lovers is an opera in three acts by Hans Werner Henze to an English libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman.

Schwetzingen Palace palace in Schwetzingen, Germany, formerly the summer residence of the Electors Palatine

Schloss Schwetzingen, or Schwetzingen Palace is a schloss in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Schwetzingen was the summer residence of the Electors Palatine Charles III Philip and Charles IV Theodore. It is situated in Schwetzingen, roughly equidistant from the electors' seats at Heidelberg and Mannheim, and is most notable for its spacious and ornate gardens. Other than these exceptionally well preserved gardens and the palace proper, the compound also features the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen, the principal venue for the annual Schwetzingen Festival.

<i>Die Schweizer Familie</i> opera

Die Schweizer Familie is an opera by the Austrian composer Joseph Weigl. It takes the form of a Singspiel in three acts. The libretto, by Ignaz Franz Castelli, is based on the vaudeville Pauvre Jacques (1807) by Charles-Augustin de Basson-Pierre and René de Chazet. The opera was first performed at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna on 14 March 1809 and was a great success in German-speaking countries in the early 19th century.

Loren Driscoll American opera singer

Loren Driscoll was an American tenor who had an active international career from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. Driscoll was particularly noted for his performances in contemporary operas and sang in many world premieres.

Wolfgang Schöne is a German bass-baritone in opera and concert.

The Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik is a music festival for contemporary chamber music, jointly organised by the town Witten in the Ruhr Area and the broadcasting station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). The concerts take place over a weekend at the end of April or in early May, and concentrate on world premieres of small-scale works, more than 600 as of 2010. They are broadcast worldwide via the European Broadcasting Union.

The Munich Biennale is an opera festival in the city of Munich. The full German name is Internationales Festival für neues Musiktheater, literally: International Festival for New Music Theater. The biennial festival was created in 1988 by Hans Werner Henze and is held in even-numbered years over 2–3 weeks in the late spring. The festival concentrates on world premieres of theater-related contemporary music, with a particular focus on commissioning first operas from young composers.

<i>Luci mie traditrici</i> opera by Salvatore Sciarrino

Luci mie traditrici is an opera in two acts by Salvatore Sciarrino, who also wrote the libretto. It was first performed under the German title Die tödliche Blume on 19 May 1998 in the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen at the Schwetzingen Festival.

Georges Delnon Swiss theatre director

Georges Delnon is a Swiss theatre director, artistic director and professor. Since 2006 he is the artistic director of the Theater Basel and he will take over the management of the Hamburg State Opera in 2015.

<i>Der Revisor</i> opera by Werner Egk

Der Revisor is a comic opera in five acts by Werner Egk, who was also the librettist. It is based on Nikolai Gogol's play The Government Inspector. The premiere on 9 May 1957 at the Schwetzingen Festival was conducted by the composer.

Zwingenberg Castle castle

Zwingenberg Castle, also called Zwingenberg or Schloss Zwingenberg, stands on the right bank of the River Neckar where it cuts through the Odenwald hills in central Germany. The castle is located in the municipality of Zwingenberg in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

<i>In seinem Garten liebt Don Perlimplin Belisa</i> opera

In seinem Garten liebt Don Perlimplin Belisa is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Fortner. The libretto, also by Fortner, is based on Federico García Lorca's play Amor de don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín. It premiered at the opening of the 1962 Schwetzingen Festival.

Il Figlio delle selve is an opera in three acts by Ignaz Holzbauer to a libretto by Carlo Sigismondo Capece premiered June 1753 at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen for Kurfürst Carl Theodor zu Mannheim, securing Holzbauer employment as kapellmeister. The opera was revived by Staats Theater Mainz for the Schwetzingen Festival 2003, and again for the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier Languedoc Roussillon in July 2005.

Alfred Kirchner is a German actor, theatre director and theatre manager who is based in Berlin. He worked at theatres such as Theater Bremen, Schauspielhaus Bochum, the Burgtheater in Vienna and the Staatliche Schauspielbühnen Berlin, before turning to freelance work. He has staged productions in Europe and North America, including several world premieres of both drama and opera. He directed the premiere of Martin Walser's Ein Kinderspiel in Stuttgart in 1971, the U.S. premiere of Henze's We Come to the River at the Santa Fe Opera in 1984, and the premiere of Hans Zender's Stephen Climax at the Oper Frankfurt in 1986. In 1994, he staged Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival.

Laura Aikin American operatic coloratura soprano

Laura Aikin is an American operatic coloratura soprano. She is regarded as an ideal Lulu, and has appeared as Mozart's Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta by Richard Strauss and in contemporary opera at international opera houses and festivals.


  1. 1 2 "Schwetzingen Die kurfürstliche Sommerresidenz – Gartenkunstwerk und freimaurerische Ideen – Nominierung zur Eintragung in die UNESCO-Welterbeliste" (PDF) (in German). 2006. p. 30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  2. "Die Hofmusiker – Ignaz Holzbauer" (in German). Forschungsstelle Südwestdeutsche Hofmusik. 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  3. "Schwetzinger SchlossRokokotheater – Ein Ort der Musikgeschichte" (in German). Schwetzingen Festival. 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  4. "Vorhang auf! – Grosse Sonderausstellung Theater um Mozart in Heidelberg und Schwetzingen ab 19. September" (in German). Heidelberger Akademien der Wissenschaften. 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 "Schwetzingen: Rokokotheater". Schwetzingen Festival . Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  6. Jörg Kreutz (19 November 2011). "Cosimo Alessandro Collini (1727 bis 1806) – Ein europäischer Aufklärer" (in German). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  7. "Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele" (in German). Schwetzingen Festival. 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  8. "Schwetzinger Fespiele 2003 – Ignaz Holzbauer (1711-1783) – Il Figlio delle Selve". 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  9. "Mozartgesellschaft Schwetzingen Vereinsprofil" (in German). Mozartgesellschaft Schwetzingen. 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.