Musical genius Mozart and his beloved Prague
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, named after the baptismal record of Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (January 27, 1756, Salzburg – December 5, 1791, Vienna) was an Austrian classical music composer and piano virtuoso. He is recognized as a brilliant musician who has composed 626 works of secular and spiritual character during his lifetime. And the name and part of the life of this musical prodigy is also tied to Prague!
There are not many people who have never heard of Mozart. His name and works are some of the most famous in classical music. During his life, Mozart spent 15 years traveling. He set out on his first trip to Europe at the age of six. Mozart arrived in Prague for the first time in the winter of January 11, 1787, accompanied by his wife, Constance. He stayed in the palace of Count Johann Joseph Thun, a music lover who had not only his own court band, but also his court theater. Mozart performed his latest opera Le nozze di Figaro at the Count Nostitz National Theater. The opera was triumphant in Prague and the performances were sold out. In the end Mozart stayed in Prague for four weeks and when he returned to Vienna on February 8 he also brought an order for a new opera – Don Giovanni.
“I cannot describe the enthusiasm with which Czechs accepted Mozart’s music. It amazes me that other nations did not understand the beauty of his music until after several performances, while the Czechs understood it for the first time. ” – Words of Lorenzo da Ponte, the famous Venetian and opera librettist.
Mozart went from Vienna to Prague for the second time in October 1787. This time he was accompanied by Constance, who was pregnant and was expecting the birth of the fourth child. The Mozarts arrived in Prague on 4 October. Mozart also carried the score of the ordered opera, the title of which was headed: Don Giovanni ossia Il dissoluto punito. At first they stayed at the Three Lions Inn on the Coal Market, near the Nostitz National Theater.
The premiere of Don Giovanni was announced on 14 October in honor of the planned marriage of Archduke Maria Theresa of Austria and Tuscany to Prince Anton Clemens von Sachsen. Even for the Prague opera ensemble, which had a high artistic standard, it was not easy to study a difficult opera in ten days, unfinished! The premiere had to be postponed three times. The ceremony was replaced by another Mozart opera – The Marriage of Figaro. Mozart, who, in his father’s opinion, “always left everything at the last minute”, wrote the prelude to Don Giovanni, legendary 292 bars, only in the early morning hours of the premiere. Therefore, the first performance of the opera (on the fourth attempt) on October 29, 1878 moved by an hour. The copyists did not manage to break down the score and give the musicians individual parts. The overture was not rehearsed by the orchestra and the musicians had no choice but to cut it out from the “prima vista” – “from the sheet”. Everything turned out well and the premiere was a success. Even the audience wore Mozart on their hands, which did not happen to him in Vienna.
In the following years, Prague was not the destination of Mozart’s travels, it was only passing through Prague. Mozart’s last trip to Prague dates back to the year of his death. Joseph’s successor Leopold II. declared that he would be crowned King of Bohemia in Prague. The contract for the ceremonial coronation opera was first, and then repeatedly, awarded to Antonio Salieri. However, he repeatedly rejected the offer. It was Mozart who accepted the offer for unknown reasons. One thing is certain, perhaps every other composer, as well as a sober Salieri, would probably refuse the offer. The reason was time. Due to unnecessary delays in the imperial court’s office, only three weeks were left to write the coronation opera! And the new opera had to be rehearsed. Mozart, composing day and night, composed music in just 18 days. 25th August 1791 went to the last preparations for Prague. On September 2, he conducted his Don Giovanni, who had an extraordinary success in front of the imperial court, and on September 6, he conducted the coronation opera “Tito”. The premiere did not meet with a favorable reaction of the audience. Later, however, was often played in Prague.
After the premiere of Tito, Wolfgang focused here on completing his written opera The Magic Flute. The opera The Magic Flute premiered on September 30 at the “Na Vídeňce” suburban theater. Mozart himself conducted the first two performances. The opera was a great success.
On November 20 Mozart lay down with fever and died on the night of December 5, 1791. He was hastily buried in a common grave in the cemetery of St. Mark near Vienna. The grief of Mozart’s death was incomparably greater in Prague than in Vienna. On December 14, 1791, the Nostic Theater Orchestra organized the St. Nicholas mourning commemoration, attended by 4,000 Praguers. In honor of Amade, 120 of Prague’s best musicians played. The solo in his Requiem was sung by the soprano and Amadeus’ faithful girlfriend Josefina Dušková, whom Amadeus once put to his feet along with flowers and a beautiful concert aria “Goodbye, my beautiful flame!” (“Bella mia fiamma, addio …!”).