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Mozart-Hype in Prague!

Historical view of Prague

Steel engraving from the Kunstanstalt C. F. Merkel in Leipzig after Wilhelm Kandler (1816–1896) Middle of 19th century Source: Wikimedia
Title page of the libretto of Mozart's opera

Title page of the libretto of Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro", printed for the performance in Prague

Prague 1786 Source: Wikimedia

In 1786 Mozart’s opera “Le nozze di Figaro” (The Marriage of Figaro) premiered in Vienna. The musicians and singers were overwhelmed by the difficulty of the music, especially since they did not have sufficient time for rehearsals. Unsurprisingly, the applause fell flat. Mozart’s Figaro was taken from the playing schedule and Mozart’s other works sold equally badly. They proved to be too difficult and not at all frivolous playful pieces. The underwhelming appreciation of the Viennese audience and the need for money made Mozart accept an invitation to Prague. There, he conducted “The Marriage of Figaro” at the opera. The success was tremendous. “…Because they do not talk about anything else here than – Figaro. Nothing else is being played, blown, sung or whistled than – Figaro, no opera attended than – Figaro. And forever Figaro! Certainly a great honour for me!” Here he also got a further commission for an opera: in co-operation with his libretto writer Lorenzo da Ponte he would compose “Don Giovanni”.

Death and Seduction

On May 28, 1787, Mozart’s father Leopold died without he and Wolfgang having a chance to see each other again. Full of grief and in desperate need of money Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart set to work on “Don Giovanni”. He also composed “A Little Night Music” at this time. Mozart dealt with his grief through the character of Don Giovanni, the seducer of women going to hell. Conflicting emotions and difficulties with Lorenzo da Ponte, the musicians and singers marked the time in which “Don Giovanni” came into being. However, the premiere in Prague was a tremendous success.

Mozart returned to Vienna. Constanze was expecting her fourth child and on December 7, 1787, a long-time dream of Mozart came true: Mozart gained the position of imperial court composer with an annual salary of 800 guilders. A lot compared to other musicians, but still not enough to support Mozart’s lifestyle.