News from the Dramaturg
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most creative, prolific, and influential composers of all time. Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756, Mozart showed promise as a musician from an early age. His father, Leopold, was a musician and began teaching Mozart piano very early on. Mozart began writing music when he was only five years old and would go on to write over 600 works in his lifetime. Throughout his early years, Mozart, accompanied by his father, traveled around Europe playing for ambassadors, noblemen, and rulers of many countries.
Mozart's first opera Mitridate Re di Ponto was completed in 1770 when Mozart was only fourteen years old. Over the course of his career, Mozart composed 17 operas including: The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and, of course, The Magic Flute.
After marrying Constanze Weber in 1782, Mozart continued composing and performing. Constanze and Mozart would have six children although only two would survive past infancy.
In December of 1784, Mozart was initiated into the "Zur Wohlthӓtigkeit" Masonic lodge in Vienna. Masonic teachings and themes would become substantial influences on Mozart's music. The Magic Flute has been interpreted by many as an opera rich with masonic themes. A future post will discuss masonic themes in The Magic Flute in more depth.
The Magic Flute was composed in 1791 and is one of Mozart's better known works. It opened to rave reviews in Vienna and had successful runs in other European cities. Only a few months after the premiere, Mozart became ill. Mozart had had several serious illnesses during his childhood and had been ill on and off throughout his adult life. In December of the same year that The Magic Flute premiered, Mozart died at the age of 35. Despite dying so young, Mozart was able to create an astounding amount of music and has had an incredible amount of influence on all the composers who have come after him.
If you are interested in learning more about Mozart's life and music, the links below provide excellent information for all ages.
Mozart by Maynard Solomon
The Mozart Project by Steve Boerner
Next » « Previous