ANTON SCHWEITZER (1735 - 1787)
After serving at the court opera in Hildburghausen, Anton Schweitzer found employment as director of music for Abel Seyler’s theatre company, for which he wrote comic Singspiel. In 1771 the troupe was in Weimar, where Schweitzer collaborated with Christoph Martin Wieland. After the disastrous fire at the castle there in 1774 the troupe moved to Gotha. Here Schweitzer worked as conductor at the Court Opera before succeeding Georg Benda as court composer in 1778.
Schweitzer’s stage works include Alceste, a collaboration with Wieland that was first staged in Weimar in 1773. It was here that his melodrama based on a translation of Rousseau’s Pygmalion had been performed the previous year. He wrote a quantity of other stage music, collaborating in attempts to establish a distinctive German opera, and seems to have anticipated Benda in the development of the melodrama. His 1772 duodrama Ariadne auf Naxos remained unfinished.