Mozart & the Big Picture
Posted by P. Bingham on April 29, 1998 at 00:57:36:
In response to Haydn & Mozart, written by Kay on April 28, 1998 at 20:21:56
] Most of Mozart's operas were written in Italian. He lived by commissions, and most with money to spend were upper class. The only opera I know of written in German, "Die Zauberflote" or "The Magic Flute," was written for Schickneder, and the patron's of his establishment were "lower middle class."
I did note that Mozart wrote and performed his Operas in German "whenever possible" not every time. Another of his German-language operas is 'Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail' and as far as other operas, he fought quite hard to have them received in German, but at the time, the hold that Italian and French operas had on the European monarchy was unbendable. His sentiments are what's important. Mozart barely made enough to support himself and his young family even when he was being receive very well and his heavy dependence on Aristocratic whims must have made his work quite frustrating as well as making him understand the plight of the middle and lower-middle classes, being one of them himself. His heavy losses encouraged his joining the Society of Freemasons which was then a powerful underground organization and an enemy of the Roman Catholic Church, another indication of his leanings. There is also, of course, the fact that The Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais had been banned because of its revolutionary sentiment and Da Ponte, who wrote the libretto, had to obtain the Emperor's permission to adapt it on the understanding that any passages offensive to the monarchy would be removed. Yet still the opera's class warfare was very much obvious. Mozart was a middle-class man's man. At this point it can be hard to draw the line between what is lower-middle class and what is middle class. In Vienna that line was not so clear.
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