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One of the largest historic residences in Europe

Mannheim Baroque Palace

Supraporte im Rittersaal des Mannheimer Barockschlosses;  Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Mannheim as a court of muses

A musical prince-elector

Contemporaries describe Prince-Elector Carl Theodor von der Pfalz as very intelligent and open. He was interested in the natural sciences and history, literature, music, and theater. With his "Mannheim School," he made musical history.

Portrait of Prince-Elector Carl Theodor von der Pfalz, oil on canvas, by Heinrich Carl Brandt, 1767. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

The prince-elector was a lover of German music.

Love of the German language

Even in the 1870s, Carl Theodor put on compositions in the German language, a revolution in view of the Italian dominance in the world of opera. He loved the German language, though it was not his native tongue: the prince-elector was born near Brussels and grew up there. The French ambassador to the prince-elector's court once remarked during the performance of an Italian opera that it would sound much more barbaric in the German language. Carl Theodor contradicted him and personally sang the piece to him in German!

Court music perfected

Carl Theodor, who played the flute, promoted music at his court from the beginning. He was continuing the tradition of its predecessors, Prince-Electors Johannes Wilhelm and Carl Philipp, who had both promoted the development of music and theater. The court orchestra he founded in Mannheim was distinguished by excellent musicians with perfect technique. The orchestra and the composers of Mannheim formed the "Mannheim school," which became world-famous and prepared the way for the Classic period.

Schlosstheater des Schwetzinger Schlosses; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

In the Palace Theater in Schwetzingen, the prince-elector put on many productions in summer.