It’s Mozart’s Birthday!

27 Jan

Today is Mozart’s birthday. He was born January 27th, 1756 and passed away on December 5th, 1791.

In his lifetime, Mozart’s operas were respectably received by the nobility, and raved about by the populace. “The Marriage of Figaro” probably caused the most sensation of all his works, being performed and translated across the entirety of Europe. Strangely enough, it both united the rich and poor with its humanity, but divided them at the same time by claiming that the rich and the poor both shared that same humanity. When “La Finta Giardinera”, an opera with an initially mediocre draw, was translated into German as “Die Gartnerin aus Liebe”, it took on a whole new life, and became what would be called today a “sleeper hit”. (In my opinion, too, the German version is better, though essentially it’s only the opera’s language that changes. I will describe the reasons I believe this happens later.)

The Mozarts in Green. (Wolfgang, left, Constanze, right) I've photoshopped their original colors for an upcoming shoot!

However, some of Mozart’s operas were never even completed. Three were abandoned in the early stages for various reasons: couldn’t pull them together (Zaide), lack of interest at the moment (Lo Sposo Deluso), and for one he simply quit writing because he thought it was stupid (L’oca del Cairo).

One of his works, “La Betulia Liberata”, was never performed in his lifetime. It’s even uncertain if anyone other than the Mozart family ever knew of its existence.

One opera in particular was very poorly received by the nobility on its opening, “La Clemenza di Tito”, which was harshly described by the Empress as “German Trash”. This had less to do with the musical merits of the opera, and more to do with racism than anything else.

Mozart has stood the test of time where others have fallen. One of the only true musical genius’s to rival Mozart in innovation and influence is the notorious Richard Wagner, who said, “The most tremendous genius raised Mozart above all masters, in all centuries and in all the arts.”

And this, I believe, will continue to be proven time and again from generation to generation.

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