Italy | Rovereto
MOZART'S STAY IN ROVERETO
24. - 27.12.1769 ● Around 20.3.1771 ● 17.8.1771 ● 29. - 30.10.1772
As far as the passage of Mozart through the Vallagarina is concerned, the plot between the facts and the symbolic values, between spiritual and material heritage is very stimulating. You wonder what the two musicians found when they stopped in Rovereto the night before Christmas 1769 and what is still present of that atmosphere and of the events that happened in the four days of their staying there and of the stops of the following journeys in Vallagarina.
Rovereto is remembered in Mozart literature as the place where Mozart hold his first Italian concert: he exhibited during an entertainment at Todeschi Palace, guest of baron Giovanni Battista, in December 25th. The day after, he played in the church of S. Marco, where the whole town crowed to listen to him. In few days, the Mozart family was given hospitality, for musical and convivial occasions, by the local aristocracy. They met different people, they would then have met again in Italy, Austria or Salzburg; they also met old acquaintances.
The letter of Leopold - dated 7th January 1770 - describing their first stay in Rovereto, is full of enthusiasm for the hospitality they received and of surprise for some unexpected encounters: Nicolò Cristani, Leopold's ex-pupil of violin in Salzburg, who was, at that time, the chief of Rovereto administration; the Lodrons, who they had ties with in Salzburg; baron Todeschi himself, who had already listened to Mozart in Vien. Rovereto and the Vallagarina, politically Habsburg, seemed to be the centre of the relations between intellectuals, artists, German and Italian merchants. Music, which could not count on an opera-house or on prestigious schools - as it was instead in other Italian towns - could be found at Church (the cathedral had a respectful orchestra) and it was encouraged and supported by the Accademia degli Agiati (founded in 1750) and by the passions of the aristocracy. It represented a loved pastime. There are many references to Trento names in the letters and biography of the Mozarts, so that we can speak of a real network around that family that has partly to be investigated.
Looking at this history, at the places where it started, also means recognizing the material traces: we can still admire the Lodron, Todeschi or Pizzini Palaces, visit the monuments that Giuseppe Antonio Bridi wanted to remember the genius of his dead friend, enter the churches where Mozart played and participated to Mass. But here the past is not static: the Accademia degli Agiati is still alive and vital; the number of musical associations underlines the never-ending 18th century passion for the art of sounds; an institutional sensibility which carefully looks at cultural traditions and supports several initiatives.
As in Mozart days, the curiosity for the novelty, for infant prodigies is close to the interest for one's history. Visitors can face with this history and with what it left, but they find it next to the novelty of one of the most important European museums of modern and contemporary art (MART). They can listen to Mozart music and to the music of his time thanks to the instruments of the Mitteleuropean Baroque Orchestra (one of the few "period" orchestras still present in Italy) or to the wonderful pianos of the Museum of the Old Pianos in Ala. But they can also have a look at the interpretations, variations, contemporary considerations offered by the artistic direction of Mozart Festival, focused on the values that the immortal genus still transfers to the creativity of contemporary artists both on a musical and theatrical point of view.
The attraction of a Mozart tour in Rovereto and the Vallagarina lies in the richness of the cultural offer (the different concert occasions where the "voice" of Mozart will be listened together with the one of his contemporaries - who, even if less famous, are essential in order to better understand him - or to the one of our age). This offer also ranges over other fields: the beauty of the places, the mixture between mountains and towns, the hospitality, the good food (Mozart liked it!), the curiosity, the crossings between art and commerce, between tradition and innovation will be able - nowadays as they did in the past - to become a moment of great personal enrichment.
ROVERETO and VALLAGARINA
Rovereto, the second town in Trentino whose historic centre expands around the Castle and where the Mart (Museum of Mode and Contemporary Art) is located in the eighteenth century Corso Bettini, had the privilege to welcome for the first time in Italy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father Leopold who stayed there many times. At that time a welcoming small town of about five thousand inhabitants, “rich in diligent people engaged in viticulture and in the weaving of silk”, Rovereto represented a place of rest for the two artists during the trips in Italy that for Leopold established a sort of tour in which to exhibit Wolfgang’s extraordinary talent looking for an engagement by the aristocratic court. It was in Rovereto that on December 25th and 26th, 1769, the 13 year-old Wolfgang held his first concert in Italy, respectively at Palazzo Todeschi and in the Church of San Marco, where he performed in front of an immense crowd fascinated by such a young talent. On August 17th, 1771, Wolfgang and Leopold passed through Rovereto again, as they did also on October 29th and 30th, 1772.
Palaces and noble residences adoed by parks and gardens, characterized the inhabited place of Villa Lagarina, which from the middle of the fifteenth century, became part of the possessions of the noble Lodron family. Some famous personalities of this family settled themselves in Salzburg in order to fill important institutional roles such as ecclesiastic-military and administrative. A tangible sign of the bond between the Lodrons and Villa Lagarina is the St. Ruperto Chapel built near the northe side of the Parish Church of Villa Lagarina by Paride Lodron, Prince Bishop of Salzburg from 1619 to 1653. Benefactors, art lovers, music lovers, the Lodrons got to know the Mozarts. In fact, between 1776 and 1777, Wolfgang Amadeus composed for Maria Antonia, the Countess of Arco and second wife of the hereditary Marshal of the Principalit of Salisburg, Eesto Maria Lodron Lateo, and for her daughters, the concert in Fa major KV242 for three pianos, while solely for the Countess he dedicated the fun KV 247 and KV 287, known as “Iodroniane Noctual Serenades” (“Lodronische Nactmusik”).
Antique village of Roman origins, since always a place of transit, from the seventeenth century became an important economic centre thanks to the art of silk and velvets, a period which
today is remembered with the manifestation “City of Velvet”. The young Wolfgang and his father Leopold had the occasion to stay in Ala on August 17th, 1771, during their second trip to Italy, guests of the nobles Pizzini. The warm welcome they received on that occasion led them to play for their hosts, an episode which Leopold annotated in one of his letters: “In Ala we had fun playing music, or better yet, we had others enjoy themselves”. On their retu trip, the Mozarts stopped again in Ala where they slept on December 8th, 1771. During their third stay in Italy, on October 30th, 1772, the two musicians stayed at Palazzo Pizzini. Their last stop in Ala is dated March 8th, 1773.
Palazzo Lodron of Nogaredo, a very significant building for art and history, since always the noble residence of the Lodrons, is remembered particularly as the place where witches were tried in 1647. Today, in the rooms of the Palace, concerts, cultural manifestations and weddings are held. In the main hall, in occasion of the Mozartian Week and of the Mozart Festival of Rovereto, the two “Lodron Serenades” KV 247 and KV 287 (“Lodronische Nachtmusik”) which Mozart composed in Salzburg for the Lodrons, are often performed. The Countess Antonia Lodron was the Mozarts’ friend who lived near the Lodron Palace in Salzburg. Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl gave piano lessons to the countess’s daughters.
It occurs sometimes, following habitual itineraries, to suddenly raise ones eyes and discover, without ever seeing them before, the charm of a wall painting, the richness of a window frame, the beauty of a doorway. This is what happens walking through the historic centre of Isera, between a courtyard and an open space, a fountain and a gate. The pride of the area is the Marzemino wine, known also by the appellation “gentle” which finds in Isera its ideal environment and was celebrated by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the second act of the Don Giovanni […”Pour the wine! …Excellent Marzimino.”…]. Even today, Isera is distinguished by its vineyards, since always a distinctive sign of the geography of the territory.
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