Of the thousands of musical talents only a few reach such acclaim as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27. 1. 1756 – 5. 12. 1791), who during his short life managed to create 626 compositions of exceptional beauty. His work belongs among the buttresses of European cultural heritage.
Prague may be proud to have provided Mozart with several happy moments.
In December 1786 the Italian impresario Pasquale Bondini presented Le nozze di Figaro at the Nostitz (today The Estates) Theatre. Unlike in Vienna, where the opera had not received much attention and soon disappeared from repertoire, in Prague its success was immense. In January 1787 Mozart came to Prague for the first time to conduct Le nozze di Figaro himself. On 19th January 1787 followed the first performance of Symphony No. 38 in D major which has since then been called Prague. During this stay he also composed Six German Dances for Count Pachta and signed a contract with Bondini for a new opera for the autumn season. It was Don Giovanni, written to the text of the Viennese court poet and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Mozart finished the opera in Prague. He rehearsed it and on 29th October 1787 he conducted its premiere at the Nostitz Theatre. In its time this immortal piece met only with misunderstanding at most foreign theatres but its success with Czech audiences could only be compared to the success of Le nozze di Figaro.
During his stays in Prague Mozart spent a lot of time at the Duscheks' at the villa Bertramka. He composed the concert aria Bella mia fiamma, addio for the excellent singer Josepha Duschek.
The end of Mozart's last stay in Prague from August to September 1791, when he conducted Don Giovanni again with almost all the same singers, was unhappy for the ill composer. The opera La clemenza di Tito, held to celebrate the coronation of Leopold II Czech king, was not accepted well by the royalty at the premiere on 6th September 1791. Upon his return to Vienna Mozart sent his only Concerto in A major for Clarinet to Prague to his friend Anton Stadler to premiere it. The first performance took place in Prague on 16th October 1791, seven weeks before the composer's death.
Having learnt of Mozart's death on 5th December 1791, the members of the Prague theatre orchestra organized a solemn ceremony in the Church of St Nicolas at the Little Quarter on 14th December. Four thousand Praguers came to honour his memory.
Mozart and Prague, these two words have always been in harmony. Prague returns to the work of the Maestro with dedication and joy and in 2006 his music will sound in Bohemia in an unparallelled entirety.