Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In the life of no composer played Prague as crucial of a role as it did in the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart resided there at the time of his creative peak, and has spent many pleasant moments and experienced great artistic satisfaction there.
The first visit to the Czech lands, however, took place when W. A. Mozart was a child, when he visited Moravian towns Brno and Olomouc. In the autumn of 1767 smallpox epidemic swept Vienna and Wolfgang’s father Leopold Mozart decided to hastily depart. For their asylum, he chose the Moravian capital Brno. Mozart left Vienna on October 23rd and after arrival in Brno were received by count Schrattenbach. On this occasion, Leopold Mozart arranged for his son's performance in Brno. However, it had to by rescheduled, because small Wolfgang went down with the dreaded smallpox. The family went to Olomouc, where the boy was treated. In Olomouc, Mozart composed his 6th Symphony in F major KV 43, called Olomouc. The family returned t Brno on December 23rd. On December 30th, 1767, the agreed concert was carried out, during which performed not only Mozart, bu also his sister. The concert took place at the Theatre Reduta in Green Market.
Mozart took the first trip to Prague when he was 31 years old, in January 1787. Mozart was already informed about the Prague success of his opera “The Abduction from the Seraglio”, written in 1782. Mozart was impressed by reports of enthusiastic acceptance of “Figaro” (KV 492) and came based on an invitation from the theater orchestra. In Prague, Mozart was received very warmly, a ball was held in his honour, and the composer was a guest of honor at many social events. On January 17th, he directed a performance of “Marriage of Figaro” at the Nostitz Theatre – the opera was sung by Pasquale Bondini Company, the performance was repeated on January 20th. As an act of gratitude, Mozart held a music academy on January 19th at the Nostitz Theatre, where his “Symphony in D major” (KV 504) was performed, which he has since called Prague. He also performed at two piano recitals and concerts and improvised during many other social occasions. Mozart left Prague in late February, committed to composing a new opera for Prague, which launched a new season in Nostitz Theatre.
Mozart’s second visit to Prague took place in August of the same year. Mozart brings with him an unfinished score of the promised opera – “Don Giovanni” (KV 527). Mozart's personally studied the opera with the soloist and the orchestra. During rehearsals, he still composed and corrected the opera. At his suggestion, the author of the libretto, poet Lorenzo da Ponte, arrived in Prague, who also actively participated in the tests. Mozart also intervened into directing. Performance, however, failed to meet the deadline, therefore, it was postponed, and on the set date - October 14th -, was performed “The Marriage of Figaro”, again under the control of the author. The premiere of “Don Giovanni” took place on October 29th and underwent a remarkable success. The opera has been played many times until Mozart’s departure from Prague on November 16th, and was often performed even afterwards.
In Prague, Mozart improvised on the organ in the Mirror Chapel of Klementinum. His bust can still be found there.