Czech Republic | Praha
MOZART'S STAY IN PRAHA
11.1 - 8.2.1787 ● 4.10. - around 13.11.1787 ● 10.4.1789 ● 31.5. - around 2.6.1789 ● 28.8. - mid of September 1791
In December 1786 the Italian impresario Pasqual Bondini presented Le nozze di Figaro in the Nosticz (today The Estates) Theatre. Unlike in Vienna, where the opera had not received much attention and soon disappeared from repertoire, in Prague its success was immense. In January 1787 Mozart came to Prague for the first time to conduct Le nozze di Figaro himself. On 19th January 1787 followed the first performance of Symphony No. 38 in D major which has since then been called Prague. During this stay he also composed Six German Dances for Count Pachta and signed a contract with Bondini for a new opera for the autumn season. It was Don Giovanni, written to the text of the Viennese court poet and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Mozart finished the opera in Prague. He rehearsed it and on 29th October 1787 he conducted its premiere in the Nosticz Theatre. In its time this immortal piece met only with misunderstanding at most foreign theatres but its success with Czech audiences could only be compared to the success of Le nozze di Figaro.
During his stays in Prague Mozart spent a lot of time at the Ducheks' at villa Bertramka. He composed the concert aria Bella mia fiamma, addio for the excellent singer Josepha Duschek.
The end of Mozart's last stay in Prague from August to September 1791, when he conducted Don Giovanni again with almost all the same singers, was unhappy for the ill composer. The opera La clemenza di Tito, held to celebrate the coronation of Leopold II Czech king, was not accepted well by the royalty at the premiere on 6th September 1791. Upon his return to Vienna Mozart sent his only Concerto in A major for Clarinet to Prague to his friend Anton Stadler to premiere it. The first performance took place in Prague on 16th October 1791, seven weeks before the composer's death.
Having learnt of Mozart's death on 5th December 1791, the members of the Prague theatre orchestra organized a solemn ceremony in the Church of St Nicolas at the Little Quarter on 14th December. Four thousand Praguers came to honour his memory.
Mozart and Prague, these two words have always been in harmony.
"Praga caput regni" has been inscribed in Prague's coat of arms. And rightly so. Since the very beginning, Prague has always played an important role in the history of both the nation, country and Europe. Since the Middle Ages, Prague has been known as one of the most beautiful cities of the world, and has been attributed adjectives such as "golden", "city of hundred spires", "the crown of the world", "a stone dream". Throughout centuries, prominent personalities paid homage to it. W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, F. M. Dostoyevsky, A. Rodin, G. Apollinaire, P. I. Tchaikovsky, O. Kokoschka as well as the British Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II professed their beguilement by its attractiveness and architectural beauty. Writers and poets, such as Jan Neruda, Jaroslav Hasek, Jaroslav Seifert, Franz Kafka, Max Brod and Egon Erwin Kisch featured their home town in thier works. Prague represents a unique collection of historical monuments dominated by Prague Castle which towers high above the city. It merges all artistic and architectonic styles and movements. The historical core of the city is situated on both banks of the Vltava river and consists of 6 parts - formerly independent urban units unified in the 18th century. They are as follows: Stare Mesto (Old Town), Josefov (the preserved part of the former Jewish Town - today part of the Old Town), Nove Mesto (New Town), Mala Strana (Lesser Town), Hradcany and Vysehrad. Naturally, most of the historical monuments, museums and galleries are concentrated there.
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