Hilverding [Helferting, Helwerding, Hilferding] van Wewen, Franz (Anton Christoph)
- Bruce Alan Brown
(bap. Vienna, Nov 17, 1710; d Vienna, May 30, 1768). Austrian dancer, choreographer and impresario. He was a member of a large theatrical dynasty active in Vienna from at least the 1660s. His father, Johann Baptist Hilverding, had been an associate of the famous Hanswurst Josef Anton Stranitzky, and his elder brother Johann Peter Hilverding led various troupes of German actors, ending his career in Russia. Franz Hilverding’s principal training – at the emperor’s expense – was with the dancer Blondy in Paris during the mid-1730s. While there he probably witnessed performances of Fuzelier and Rameau’s opéra-balletLes Indes galantes, an entrée of which, Le Turc généreux, he later imitated in a pantomime ballet. Hilverding’s sojourn in Paris almost certainly contributed significantly to his overall cultural education; his knowledge of literature and skill as a draughtsman and composer of music were thought unusual in a choreographer.
By 1737 he was engaged as a dancer at the Habsburg court, where he soon began composing ballets alongside Alexander and Franz Anton Phillebois. According to his pupil Gasparo Angiolini’s account, the period of mourning after the death of Charles VI in ...