List of operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Playbill for the opening performance of Die Zauberflöte, 30 September 1791

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's operas comprise 22 musical dramas in a variety of genres. They range from the small-scale, derivative works of his youth to the full-fledged operas of his maturity. Three of the works were abandoned before completion and were not performed until many years after the composer's death. His mature works are all considered classics and have never been out of the repertory of the world's opera houses.[1]

From a very young age Mozart had, according to opera analyst David Cairns, "an extraordinary capacity ... for seizing on and assimilating whatever in a newly encountered style (was) most useful to him".[2] In a letter to his father, dated 7 February 1778, Mozart wrote, "As you know, I can more or less adopt or imitate any kind and style of composition".[3] He used this gift to break new ground, becoming simultaneously "assimilator, perfector and innovator".[2] Thus, his early works follow the traditional forms of the Italian opera seria and opera buffa as well as the German Singspiel. In his maturity, according to music writer Nicholas Kenyon, he "enhanced all of these forms with the richness of his innovation",[1] and, in Don Giovanni, he achieved a synthesis of the two Italian styles, including a seria character in Donna Anna, buffa characters in Leporello and Zerlina, and a mixed seria-buffa character in Donna Elvira.[1] Unique among composers, Mozart ended all his mature operas, starting with Idomeneo, in the key of the overture.[4][5]

Ideas and characterisations introduced in the early works were subsequently developed and refined. For example, Mozart's later operas feature a series of memorable, strongly drawn female characters, in particular the so-called "Viennese soubrettes" who, in opera writer Charles Osborne's phrase, "contrive to combine charm with managerial instinct".[6] Music writer and analyst Gottfried Kraus has remarked that all these women were present, as prototypes, in the earlier operas; Bastienne (1768), and Sandrina (La finta giardiniera, 1774) are precedents for the later Constanze and Pamina, while Sandrina's foil Serpetta is the forerunner of Blonde, Susanna, Zerlina and Despina.[7]

Mozart's texts came from a variety of sources, and the early operas were often adaptations of existing works.[a] The first librettist chosen by Mozart himself appears to have been Giambattista Varesco, for Idomeneo in 1781.[9] Five years later, he began his most enduring collaboration, with Lorenzo Da Ponte, his "true phoenix".[10] The once widely held theory that Da Ponte was the librettist for the discarded Lo sposo deluso of 1783 has now been generally rejected.[b] Mozart felt that, as the composer, he should have considerable input into the content of the libretto, so that it would best serve the music. Musicologist Charles Rosen writes, "it is possible that Da Ponte understood the dramatic necessities of Mozart's style without prompting; but before his association with da Ponte, Mozart had already bullied several librettists into giving him the dramatically shaped ensembles he loved."[12][c]

Compiling the list[edit]

Mozart circa 1780, detail of portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

Basis for inclusion[edit]

The list includes all the theatrical works generally accepted as composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In this context "theatrical" means performed on a stage, by vocalists singing in character, in accordance with stage directions. Some sources have adopted more specific criteria, leading them to exclude the early "Sacred Singspiel" Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots,[d] which they classify as an oratorio.[e] However, as Osborne makes clear, the libretto contains stage directions which suggest that the work was acted, not merely sung, and it is formally described as a "geistliches Singspiel" (sacred play with music), not as an oratorio.[15] The Singspiel Der Stein der Weisen was written in collaboration with four other composers, so it is only partially credited to Mozart.

Sequence[edit]

In general, the list follows the sequence in which the operas were written. There is uncertainty about whether La finta semplice was written before or after Bastien und Bastienne, and in some listings the former is given priority.[f] Thamos was written in two segments, the earlier in 1774, but is listed in accordance with its completion in 1779–80. Die Zauberflöte and La clemenza di Tito were written concurrently. Die Zauberflote was started earlier and put aside for the Tito commission,[16] which was completed and performed first and is usually listed as the earlier work despite having a higher Köchel catalogue number.

List of operas[edit]

Key:    Incomplete opera    Collaborative work

Operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Period[g] Title Genre and acts[17] Libretto Voice parts[18] Premiere[19] Köchel No.[h]
Language Librettist[20] Date Venue
1767 Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, Part 1[i]
(The obligation of the first and foremost commandment)
Sacred Singspiel
(collaboration)
German Ignaz von Weiser [de][j] 3 soprano, 2 tenor 12 March 1767 Archbishop's Palace, Salzburg K.35
Score
Libretto
1767 Apollo et Hyacinthus
(Apollo and Hyacinth)
Musical setting of Latin text[22] Latin Rufinus Widl, after Ovid's Metamorphoses 2 treble, 2 boy alto, 1 tenor, 2 bass, chorus[k] 13 May 1767 Great Hall, University of Salzburg K.38
Score
1768 Bastien und Bastienne
(Bastien and Bastienne)
Singspiel
1 act
German F. W. Weiskern and J. H. Muller[l] 1 soprano, 1 tenor, 1 bass 2 October 1890.[m] Architektenhaus, Wilhelmstraße 92, Berlin K.50/46b
Score
1768 La finta semplice
(The feigned simpleton)
Opera buffa
3 acts
Italian Marco Coltellini, after Carlo Goldoni 3 soprano, 2 tenor, 2 bass 1 May 1769 Archbishop's Palace, Salzburg K.51/46a
Score
1770 Mitridate, re di Ponto
(Mithridates, King of Pontus)
Opera seria
3 acts
Italian V. A. Cigna-Santi [it], based on G. Parini's translation of Racine's Mithridate 4 soprano, 1 alto, 2 tenor[n] 26 December 1770 Teatro Regio Ducale, Milan K.87/74a
Score
1771 Ascanio in Alba
(Ascanius in Alba)
Festspiel[o]
2 acts
Italian Giuseppe Parini 4 soprano, 1 tenor, chorus[p] 17 October 1771 Teatro Regio Ducale, Milan K.111
Score
1772 Il sogno di Scipione
(Scipio's Dream)
Azione teatrale, or Serenata drammatica
1 act
Italian Metastasio, based on Cicero's Somnium Scipionis 3 soprano, 3 tenor,
chorus
1 May 1772 (probably)[q] Archbishop's Palace, Salzburg K.126
Score
1772 Lucio Silla Dramma per musica
3 acts
Italian Giovanni de Gamerra, revised by Metastasio 4 soprano, 2 tenor, chorus[r] 26 December 1772 Teatro Regio Ducale, Milan K.135
Score
1774–75 La finta giardiniera
(The pretend garden-maid)
Dramma giocoso
3 acts[s]
Italian Probably Giuseppe Petrosellini[t] 4 soprano, 2 tenor, 1 bass, chorus[u] 13 January 1775 Salvatortheater [de], Munich K.196
Score
1775 Il re pastore
(The Shepherd King)
Serenata
2 acts
Italian Metastasio, amended by Varesco, based on Tasso's Aminta[8] 3 soprano, 2 tenor[v] 23 April 1775 Archbishop's Palace, Salzburg K.208
Score
1773, 1779 Thamos, König in Ägypten
(Thamos, King of Egypt)
Choruses and entr'actes for a heroic drama German Tobias Philipp von Gebler [de] Soprano, alto, tenor, bass
(chorus and soloists)
4 April 1774
(two choruses)
Kärntnertor Theatre, Vienna K.345/336a
Score
1779–80
(complete)
Salzburg
1779–80 Zaide Singspiel
(incomplete)
German Johann Andreas Schachtner 1 soprano, 2 tenor, 2 bass, mini-chorus of 4 tenors, 1 speaking role 27 January 1866[w] Frankfurt[x] K.344/336b
Score
1780–81 Idomeneo, re di Creta
(Idomeneus, King of Crete)
Dramma per musica
3 acts
Italian Varesco, after Antoine Danchet's Idoménée 3 soprano, 1 mezzo-soprano, 4 tenor, 1 baritone, 2 bass, chorus[y] 29 January 1781 Court Theatre (now Cuvilliés Theatre), Munich K.366
Score
1781–82 Die Entführung aus dem Serail
(The Abduction from the Seraglio)
Singspiel
3 acts
German Gottlieb Stephanie, based on C. Bretzner's Belmont und Constanze, oder Die Entführung aus dem Serail 2 soprano, 2 tenor, 1 bass, 2 speaking roles[z] 16 July 1782 Burgtheater, Vienna K.384
Score
Libretto
1783 L'oca del Cairo
(The goose of Cairo)
Dramma giocoso
(incomplete)
3 acts
Italian Varesco (Provisional) 4 soprano, 2 tenor, 2 bass, chorus 6 June 1867[w] Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes, Paris K.422
Score
1783 Lo sposo deluso
(The Deluded Bridegroom)
Opera buffa
(incomplete)
2 acts
Italian Unknown. Once attributed to Da Ponte[35] but may have been by Giuseppe Petrosellini.[b][36] (Provisional) 3 soprano, 2 tenor, 2 bass 6 June 1867[37][w] Théâtre des Fantaisies-Parisiennes, Paris K.430/424a
Score
1786 Der Schauspieldirektor
(The Impresario)
Comic singspiel
1 act
German Gottlieb Stephanie 2 soprano, 1 tenor, 1 bass, 6 speaking roles 7 February 1786 Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna K.486
Score
1785–86 Le nozze di Figaro
(The Marriage of Figaro)
Opera buffa
4 acts
Italian Da Ponte, based on Beaumarchais's La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro 5 soprano, 2 tenor, 1 baritone, 3 bass, chorus[aa] 1 May 1786 Burgtheater, Vienna K.492
Score
Libretto
1787 Don Giovanni[ab] Dramma giocoso
2 acts
Italian Da Ponte, based on Giovanni Bertati's Don Giovanni Tenorio 3 soprano, 1 tenor, 1 baritone, 3 bass, chorus 29 October 1787[ac] Estates Theatre,[ad] Prague K.527
Score
Libretto
1789–90 Così fan tutte
(Women are like that or All women do that)[ae]
Dramma giocoso
2 acts
Italian Da Ponte 3 soprano, 1 tenor, 1 baritone, 1 bass, chorus 26 January 1790 Burgtheater, Vienna K.588
Score
Libretto
1790 Der Stein der Weisen
(The Philosopher's Stone)
(Pasticcio composed with J. B. Henneberg, F. Gerl, B. Schack and E. Schikaneder)
Singspiel
(collaboration)
2 acts
German Emanuel Schikaneder 3 soprano, 2 tenor, 2 baritone, 1 bass, 1 speaking role 11 September 1790 Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna K.592a
1791 La clemenza di Tito
(The clemency of Titus)
Opera seria
2 acts
Italian Metastasio, revised by Caterino Mazzolà 2 soprano, 2 mezzo-soprano, 1 tenor, 1 bass, chorus[af] 6 September 1791 Estates Theatre, Prague K.621
Score
Libretto
1791 Die Zauberflöte
(The Magic Flute)
Singspiel
2 acts
German Emanuel Schikaneder 6 soprano, 2 mezzo-soprano, 1 alto, 4 tenor, 1 baritone, 4 bass, chorus 30 September 1791 Theater auf der Wieden, Vienna K.620
Score
Libretto

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For example, Metastasio's text for Il re pastore had been written in 1751 and had been set to music before.[8]
  2. ^ a b According to some recent scholarship, the unknown Italian poet responsible for the text is more likely to have been Giuseppe Petrosellini, who initially prepared it for Domenico Cimarosa's opera Le donne rivali, 1780.[11]
  3. ^ For two instances in which Mozart coaxed his librettists into reshaping their work, see Die Entführung aus dem Serail (which quotes Mozart's correspondence on this point) and Varesco.
  4. ^ "Gebotes" or "Gebottes" are archaic spelling variants of the modern "Gebots" which is regularly used in the title.
  5. ^ Kenyon begins his guide to the operas with Apollo et Hyacinthus;[13] Cairns more or less dismisses Die Schuldigkeit,[14] seemingly following the view of Edward J. Dent, quoted by Osborne (1992, p. 27). Grove, also, does not list Die Schuldigkeit as an opera.
  6. ^ Both were written in 1768. The first performance of La finta semplice was delayed until May 1779, whereas Bastien und Bastienne may have been performed in October 1768. It is entirely possible, however, that La finta semplice was written first. See Osborne (1992, pp. 37–38, 45)
  7. ^ Period during which the opera was written
  8. ^ Köchel numbers refer to the Köchel Catalogue of Mozart's work, prepared by Ludwig von Köchel and first published in 1862. The catalogue has been revised several times, most recently in 1964. The first number refers to K1, the original numbering; the second to K6 from 1964.
  9. ^ Part 2 is by Michael Haydn, Part 3 by Anton Cajetan Adlgasser.[21]
  10. ^ Weiser is the most likely of several possible authors of the text; see Osborne (1992, pp. 24–25).
  11. ^ Premiered with an all-male cast, the soprano and alto parts being sung by boy choristers.[23]
  12. ^ The text was derived from a French parody, Les amours de Bastien et Bastienne, a work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Le devin du village, 1752.[24]
  13. ^ possibly Vienna, October 1768, in the garden of Dr Franz Mesmer). Dr Franz Anton Mesmer was the founder of the form of hypnotherapy known as "mesmerism".[25]
  14. ^ The soprano roles of Sifare and Arbate, and the alto role of Farnace, were written for castrati.[26]
  15. ^ In Italian this translates to festa teatrale.[27] Osborne (1992, p. 63) calls it a "pastoral opera".
  16. ^ The soprano roles of Ascanio and Fauno were written for castrati.[28]
  17. ^ Details of first performance are obscure.Osborne (1992) gives dates "29 April or 1 May", Kenyon (2006, p. 296) says: "There is no record it was actually performed in 1772"
  18. ^ The soprano role of Cecilio was written for a castrato.[29]
  19. ^ Mozart prepared a Singspiel version, Die verstellte Gärtnerin, produced in Augsburg on 1 May 1780. The German version, now known as Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe, has remained popular.[30][31]
  20. ^ The libretto was formerly credited to Ranieri de' Calzabigi, revised by Marco Coltellini, but is now credited to Petrosellini.[32]
  21. ^ The soprano role of Ramiro was written for a castrato.
  22. ^ The soprano role of Aminta was written for castrato.[33]
  23. ^ a b c Not performed during Mozart's lifetime.
  24. ^ The exact location is unrecorded
  25. ^ The role of Idamante, originally written for castrato, was rewritten by Mozart as a tenor role in 1786.[34] Also, the role of Arbace is sometimes sung by a tenor.
  26. ^ One speaking role, that of a sailor, is absent from most modern productions
  27. ^ Two soprano soloists from the chorus sing the duet of the servant girls, "Amanti, costanti" in the act 3 finale.[38]
  28. ^ The full name of the opera is Il dissoluto punito, ossia Il Don Giovanni, but as Kenyon (2006, p. 326) states: "It is fruitless to argue against the habits of opera houses around the world".
  29. ^ For the Vienna premiere, six months later, certain changes were introduced, mainly to accommodate the ranges of a different group of singers. Modern performances generally conflate the Prague and Vienna productions.[39]
  30. ^ also known as Nostitz-Theater and Tyl theatre
  31. ^ This is an approximate translation from the Italian. Cairns (2006, p. 177) gives: "That is what all women do". The subtitle, La scola degli amanti, is more easily translatable as "The School for lovers".[40][41]
  32. ^ One mezzo-soprano role, depicting the male character Annio, was originally a castrato and is now done by mezzos. The role of Sesto (Sextus) was originally written by Mozart for a tenor before he found out it had been assigned to a mezzo castrato.

References[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ a b c Kenyon 2006, pp. 283–285.
  2. ^ a b Cairns 2006, p. 11.
  3. ^ Cairns 2006, p. 17.
  4. ^ James Webster (2017). John A. Rice (ed.). Essays on Opera, 1750–1800. Ashgate Library of Essays in Opera Studies (reprint ed.). Routledge. p. 216. ISBN 9781351567886.
  5. ^ Robert Levin (27 November 2008). "Musing on Mozart and Studying with Boulanger". The Boston Musical Intelligencer.
  6. ^ Osborne 1992, pp. 191–192.
  7. ^ Kenyon 2006, pp. 302.
  8. ^ a b Kenyon 2006, p. 303.
  9. ^ Kenyon 2006, p. 308.
  10. ^ From a letter to his father, circa 1774, quoted in Holden (2007, p. xv)
  11. ^ Dell'Antonio 1996, pp. 404–405 and 415.
  12. ^ Rosen 1997, p. 155.
  13. ^ Kenyon 2006, p. 287.
  14. ^ Cairns 2006, p. 24.
  15. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 26.
  16. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 300.
  17. ^ Unless indicated otherwise, these descriptions are taken from the title pages of Neue Mozart-Ausgabe. In instances where the English meaning is unclear, an English equivalent is given
  18. ^ Voice part summaries are as given by Osborne (1992). Additional notes indicate roles originally sung by castrati.
  19. ^ Unless noted otherwise, details of first performances are as given by Osborne (1992).
  20. ^ Unless noted otherwise, librettist details are as given by Osborne (1992)
  21. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 16.
  22. ^ Kenyon (2006, p. 288) gives "Music for a Latin drama"
  23. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 32.
  24. ^ Kenyon 2006, p. 291.
  25. ^ Batta 2000, p. 343.
  26. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 59.
  27. ^ Kenyon 2006, p. 294.
  28. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 69.
  29. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 86.
  30. ^ Kenyon 2006, pp. 300–301.
  31. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 97.
  32. ^ Kenyon 2006, p. 300.
  33. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 105.
  34. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 155.
  35. ^ Osborne 1992, pp. 208–209.
  36. ^ Dell'Antonio 1996, p. 415.
  37. ^ According to Osborne (1992, p. 207)
  38. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 251.
  39. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 268.
  40. ^ Cairns 2006, p. 176.
  41. ^ Osborne 1992, p. 281.

Cited sources

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]