Schlosstheater Schwetzingen

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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.

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.

Baden-Württemberg State in Germany

Baden-Württemberg is a state in southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the border with France. It is Germany’s third-largest state, with an area of 35,751 km2 (13,804 sq mi) and 11 million inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg is a parliamentary republic and partly sovereign, federated state which was formed in 1952 by a merger of the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The largest city in Baden-Württemberg is the state capital of Stuttgart, followed by Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Other cities are Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Ulm.

Schwetzingen Festival music festival

The Schwetzingen Festival is an early summer festival of opera and other classical music presented each year from May to early June in Schwetzingen, Germany.



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.

Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria German nobleman and elector

Charles Theodore reigned as Prince-elector and Count Palatine from 1742, as Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also as prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777 to his death. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Sulzbach, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.

Mannheim Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Mannheim is a city in the southwestern part of Germany, the third-largest in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart and Karlsruhe with a 2015 population of approximately 305,000 inhabitants. The city is at the centre of the larger densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region which has a population of 2,400,000 and is Germany's eighth-largest metropolitan region.

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.

Voltaire French writer, historian, and philosopher

François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plumeVoltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state.

Cosimo Alessandro Collini Italian curator, author and historian

Cosimo Alessandro Collini was an Italian historian and Voltaire's secretary from 1752 to 1756.

Francesca Lebrun German singer and composer

Francesca Lebrun, née Danzi, was a noted 18th-century German singer and composer.

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.

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".

Werner Egk German composer

Werner Egk, born Werner Joseph Mayer, was a German composer.

Udo Zimmermann German composer

Udo Zimmermann is a German composer, musicologist, opera director and conductor. He worked as a professor of composition, founded a centre for contemporary music in Dresden, and was director of the Leipzig Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He directed a contemporary music series for the Bayerischer Rundfunk and a European centre of the arts in Hellerau. His operas, especially Weiße Rose, on a topic he set to music twice, have been performed internationally and recorded.

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

Premieres have included

<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.

Gerhard Wimberger was an Austrian composer and conductor.

<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.

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]


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The Eurovision Young Dancers 1987 was the second edition of the Eurovision Young Dancers, held at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen, Germany on 31 May 1987. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), dancers from fourteen countries participated in the televised final. Austria, Canada, Denmark and Yugoslavia made their début at the contest, while Belgium and Netherlands competed together with a joint entry.

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.

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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

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

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Zwingenberg Castle castle

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

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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.

<i>Ein Landarzt</i> (opera) german opera based on Franz Kafkas short story

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Alfred Kirchner is a German actor, theatre director, especially for opera, and a theatre manager, based in Berlin. He worked at theatres such as Theater Bremen, Schauspielhaus Bochum, 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.


  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.