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Short biography
Wolfgang was born on 27th January 1756 in Salzburg, Austria and died in Vienna, Austria, on 5th December 1791. He composed approximately 626 works during his lifetime. He began his piano studies at the age of 3 in 1759 and in 1762 gave his first performance abroad, along with his sister, and accompanied by his father, as 'child prodigies', in the court of the Elector of Bavaria in Munich. In 1763, he began more travelling with his sister and father, touring around Europe. The cities visited include London and Paris. His First Symphony was written during this time. In 1767, his first opera, the Latin drama Apollo et Hyacinthus, was written. In 1778, Mozart set off on an ill-fated trip to Paris, with his mother. Although he began an unsuccessful relationship with Aloysia Weber, while visiting Mannheim on the way to Paris, he would later be heartbroken when his mother took ill and died. When returning to Salzburg, he was employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg, Count Colloredo, and in 1780 was commissioned to write Idomeneo, King of Crete. He was summoned by Colloredo to Vienna, and, later, Mozart resigned from Colloredo's court, and he became a permanent resident of Vienna. He, being remembered in Vienna as a child prodigy, was immediately accepted into the city's highest circles, and he soon formed an acquaintance with Emperor Joseph II, who was a music lover, and so welcomed Mozart into his inner circles. This was in stark contrast to Mozart's days serving Colloredo, when he was treated as a mere servant, eating with the cooks and valets. In 1781, a new opera: Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (The abduction from the Seraglio) was begun. On 24th December, Mozart was invited by the Emperor to play in a competition against the famous Italian composer Clementi, who first mistook Mozart as an Imperial Chamberlain. Clementi came second, much to the Emperor's delight. This shows how well established Mozart had become. Mozart then fell in love with Constanze Weber, aged 19, and a sister of his previous lover, Aloysia, who was now married to Joseph Lange. He described her as 'not ugly, but far from beautiful. Her whole beauty consists in two little black eyes and a pretty figure', in a letter to his father, who did not approve of the Webers. Because of his father, Mozart and Constanze were not able to marry until August 1782, after the success of The abduction from the Seraglio, first performed on 16th July. Mozart's life was now more settled, and he was well established in Viennese society. He earned a lot more than he had while working for Archbishop Colloredo. He composed regularly for his subscription concerts and for commissions that he received. He also played in the salons of some of his friends in the aristocracy, such as Countess Thun - everyone who was anyone, including the Emperor himself, came to her 'open house' evenings. His first child was born on 17th June 1783, but died shortly after. Altogether Constanze was to give birth to six children, of whom only to, Karl Thomas (born 1784) and Franz Xaver (born 1791) were to survive infancy. In September 1783, Mozart and Constanze made their only visit to Salzburg, where she sang in the first performance of Mozart's unfinished C Minor Mass. On their return trip, they stopped off at Linz, and in just four days Mozart composed his 36th Symphony, which has taken the name of its birthplace. 1784 was the year that Mozart's friendship with Haydn developed. In 1785, Leopold visited Vienna and his visit was a great success, totally packed with activity. It was here that he was able, at last, to appreciate his son's success. Also in 1785, Mozart began his new opera Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), in collaboration with Lorenzo da Ponte. Mozart was also to work with da Ponte for two more great operas, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan Tutte (All women are the same). The Marriage of Figaro was first performed on 1st May, 1786. It was only a moderate success. Only later in the year, when it was performed in Prague, it achieved great success. In fact, the citizens of Prague appreciated Mozart and his music more than the Viennese did. As Mozart described it 'Here they talk about nothing but Figaro. Nothing is played, sung or whistled but Figaro. No opera is drawing like Figaro. Nothing, nothing but Figaro. Certainly a great honour for me!' Another opera, Don Giovanni, was immediately commissioned by Prague.
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