Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and "Mozartissimo"
Among compositions you'll be listen to is the overture from the opera The Abduction from Seraglio, commissioned by the Emperor Joseph II. Upon Mozartís arrival in Vienna (this after an incident between Mozart and the Count Arco which ended with infamous "kick in the behind" - and the releasing of Mozart from services to the Archbishop of Salzburg. Mozart was thus left free to settle elsewhere). With The Abduction from Seraglio Mozart created a new operatic form, transgressing old conventions and genres of the opera seria. According to Goethe "All of our attempts to free-up, to simplify the Opera were in vain on arrival of Mozart. The Abduction from Seraglio has surpassed all". The overture lacks the enclosure of an independent piece, and is based on Turkish military music, characterised by oriental instruments such as the piccolo, triangle and bass drum, which reflects the environment where the opera takes place.
The overture, duetino, aria of Figaro and aria of Zuzana are from the
Marriage of Figaro, based on Beaumarchaisīs play, which Mozart
decided to set to music, in spite of the fact that the play was banned
in Austria at the time.
After the Prague success of The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart decided to compose an opera especially for the Prague public - and signed a contract with the theatre director for one hundred ducats. Inspiration for the opera was an old Spanish tale of the fallen Don Juan Tenori, who, at the end of his life, is taken away by a demon in return for his debauchery and sins. Mozart began composing Don Giovanni in Vienna in the summer of 1787, and in the autumn returned to Prague, where the opera was finished. Interestingly, the overture to the opera was finished last of all, it is said on the eve before the premiere. Don Giovanni was greeted with great success in Prague, and premiered in Vienna six month later. The Viennese, however, began to warm to the opera only after repeated performances. On the 1st of December 1787, Mozart was named court composer to the Emperor in Vienna. His pay - eight hundred guilders - reveals how little he was valued in the court (Mozartís predecessor, Ch. W. Gluck, received two thousand and his successor, L. A. Kozeluh, twelve hundred). However, the cool acceptance of Don Giovanni in Vienna did little to affect the overall stature of Mozartís music: the duet of Zerlina and Giovanni even charmed and inspired L. van Beethoven in various compositions on this theme.
The opera The Magic Flute was commissioned by E. Schikaneder based on his own libretto. The contents of the opera are often contradictory and the creation of the opera itself is shrouded in mystery and the arcane - Schikaneder drew from various sources. It is interesting that all those that took part in the creation and realisation of the opera were members of the Freemasons, and the music and text of The Magic Flute are interlaced with Freemasons ideas, rituals and symbols, such as the number 3, which plays an important role. Just as Mozart was finishing the first part of The Magic Flute, Schikaneder changed the second part of the libretto in reaction to a rival theatre that was running a folk play based on a similar theme. Otherwise, the duet "Pa - Pa- Pa" was not part of the original opera but was added at the expressed wish of Schikaneder. The Magic Flute had its premiere on the 30th of September 1791 in the theatre "Theater auf der Wieden", and first reactions were ones of surprise and confusion. Later, however, The Magic Flute gained wide acceptance and became one of the outstanding examples of German Romantic opera.