Mozart in Prague

Considering that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited Prague only four times, it's impressive how indelible his mark on the city is. On his first trip, in early 1787, he visited Count Thun and his wife. They lived in what is now the British Embassy in Malá Strana, and Mozart stayed at an inn on Celetná Street. During this trip he conducted his Prague Symphony and a day later, on January 20, a performance of his opera The Marriage of Figaro, which had a more successful run in Prague than in Vienna. One legend from this time has the host of a party inviting him an hour before all the other guests and making him compose new dances for the evening.

His second trip is the most famous. The maestro came to visit composer F. X. Dušek and his new wife, opera singer Josephine, in 1787 at their rural villa, Bertramka (although he also kept rooms at the Uhelný třída Inn). After several missed deadlines, he conducted the world premiere of Don Giovanni on October 29 at Stavovské divadlo. He tried out a number of church organs in his spare time.

His third visit was just a pass-through, but the fourth and final trip came just months before he died in 1791. He promised to write a new opera to mark the coronation of Leopold II as king of Bohemia. Unfortunately, La Clemenza di Tito, which premiered at the Stavovské divadlo on September 6, was written quickly, and was not as well received as Don Giovanni. Once news of his death on December 5 reached Prague, his friends staged a memorial service that ended with church bells ringing all over town.

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