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Don Giovanni KV 527
La clemenza di Tito KV 621
Symphony No. 38 in D major “Prague” KV 504
Concerto in A major for clarinet and orchestra KV 622
Bella mia fiamma, addio… – Resta, oh cara K 528
Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492


Mozart´s opera Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) was written to the libretto by the excellent librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838) using the story of a comedy by Pierre de Beaumarchais. Its premiere took place in Paris in 1784. The play was rather provoking at that time: the characters of noblemen played equally important parts as the characters of servants and thus the traditional differences between estates were levelled. Besides, the noblemen in the play were not pictured in very favourable colours. That is why the play was banned in Austria. That must have made the story even more attractive to Mozart, who was known for his proud attitude towards establishment. The opera was composed in six weeks which was an extremely short time proving the composer´s full engrossment with it.

The opera was composed in the style of Italian buffa. The gentle aristocratic setting allowed Mozart to tint the arias and the opera as a whole with nobleness and elegance. The first performance took place in Vienna on 1 May 1786 and it was a great success, which, however, soon faded, and the opera vanished from repertoire.

Six months later, in December 1786, Le nozze di Figaro was staged by the Italian company of Pasquale Bondini in the Nostitz Theatre in Prague. The Prague premiere was a sensation. Next 1... The reception of the opera in Prague was superb – the melodies from the opera were familiar to general public, people sang the tunes and arias were arranged for various instruments. Next 2...

Following the great success of Le nozze di Figaro Mozart was invited to Prague to conduct its performance. During this visit to Prague he also conducted his new Symphony in D major and received a commission for a new opera. He chose Don Giovanni.



František Němeček: : The life of W. A. Mozart

This opera was played almost uninterruptedly that whole winter, and that it completely alleviated the wretched circumstances of the entrepreneur. The enthusiasm it excited from the public had no previous parallel; people could not hear enough of it. It soon came out in a good piano reduction by one of our best masters, Herr Kuchař; it appeared in wind parts, as a chamber quintet, as German dances: in short, Figaro’s songs rang out in the streets, in gardens–even the harper inside the tavern had to play „Non piu andrai“ if he wanted a hearing. This phenomenon is of course mainly due to the excellence of the work; but only a public having such a feeling for the truly beautiful in music, and so many thorough connoisseurs among its number, could recognize the worth of such art at a first hearing; the incomparable orchestra of the Prague Opera did its part nobly, realizing with accuracy and zeal all Mozart‘s ideas. For it was these worthy men, most of them not soloists, but the more truly music-lovers and orchestral players for that, who first and most deeply responded to the new harmonies and the fiery progress of the vocal parts! The late and highly praised director of the orchestra, Strobach, often maintained that he and his personnel were so fired by the music at each performance, that despite the exhausting labours he would gladly have started playing it all over again.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A letter to Emilian Gottfried von Jacquin

Prague, 15 January 1787

Dearest friend!
Finally, I could find a moment to write to you… Upon our arrival (on Thursday the 11th at noon) we were terribly busy getting ourselves to lunch by one o´clock. After lunch Count Thun honoured us by music played by his own people and it lasted about an hour and a half. This is a real joy and I can take pleasure in it every day. Around six we went with Count Canal to a so-called “Bretfeld ball” where the best of Prague beauties gather. That would have been something for you, my friend. In my mind I could see you running, no hobbling, after all those beautiful girls and women. I was not dancing and I was not flirting. The first, because I had been terribly tired, the latter, out of my inborn silliness. But with great pleasure I watched all the people hopping about to the music of my Figaro transformed into counter dances and German dances. They talk here about nothing but Figaro. Nothing but Figaro is played, trumpeted, sung, whistled. No other opera but Figaro is frequented, Figaro forever. It is certainly great honour for me.
Now let me return to my daily routine. I came back from the ball late and I had also been tired and sleepy from my journey, so there was nothing more natural than having a nice long sleep. And that indeed I had. That is why the whole next morning was left sine linea (without a line) again. After lunch we must never forget Count´s music. I received a rather good piano in my room on that particular day so you can well imagine that I did not leave it silent and useless that evening. It was understood that we should give a little Quartor in Caritatis camera and thus the whole evening would be lost sine linea. And that is exactly what happened. Be it as it may, you may as well blame Morpheus; this little god favours us both here in Prague. I do not know why, anyway, we had a nice sleep. Nevertheless, we were able to appear as early as at 11 o´clock at father Ungar´s to see the imperial royal library and seminary. When our eyes were almost popping out, it seemed to us we had been hearing a little stomach aria. So we thought it a good idea to go to Count Canal´s for lunch. Evening surprised us earlier than we had expected; it was time to go to the opera. So we heard Le gare generose. As regards the performance of this opera, I cannot say much about it as I had been waffling a lot. The performance itself may have been the reason why I had been waffling against my habit. I hope and wish for it in all my heart that you were doing as well as we two are doing here. I must admit, however, that (even though they lavish courtesy and honours on me and Prague indeed is a very beautiful and pleasant place) I still miss Vienna and, believe me, the main reason of it is your house…


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