8 October 1782

The Count and Countess of the North at Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Wiener Zeitung, no. 81, Wed, 9 Oct 1782




Wiener Zeitung, 1782-10-09, 1 (snippet)


              — Dienstags [ = 8 Oct] fanden
sich der Herr Graf und die Frau Grä=
finn von Norden, begleitet von des Erz=
herzogs Maximilians K. H. bey der Wein=
lese zu Schönbrun im Holländischen Garten
ein; es waren dazu mehrere Kavaliere
und Dames eingeladen, welche die gan=
ze Weinlese, das Pressen der Trauben,
und alle übrigen Winzerarbeiten selbst
verrichteten, indessen die fröhliche Mu=
sik blasender Instrumente sich hören ließ.
Nach einigen Stunden begab sich das gan=
ze Gesellschaft in den Speisesaal des Kai=
serl. Schlosses, wo Tafel von 30 Gede=
cken war. Nach Endigung derselben,
fuhren die hohen Gäste nach der Stadt
zurück, wo der Herr Graf, und die Frau
Gräfinn dem Hrn. Fürsten v. Kaunitz mit
einem Besuche beehrten. Nachher verfügte
sich die Frau Gräfinn zur Gräfinn v. Chan=
clos, künftigen Obristhofmeisterinn der
Durchl. Prinzessinn Elisabeth. Abends
versammelte sich die hohe Gesellschaft im

Wiener Zeitung, 1782-10-09, 2 (snippet)


⁣              — Tuesday [8 Oct] the Count and
Countess of the North, accompanied by
his Imperial Highness Archduke Maximilian,
attended the grape harvest in the Dutch
Garden at Schönbrunn; numerous Cavaliers
and Ladies were invited, who performed the
harvesting and pressing of the grapes, and
all other tasks of viticulture, while cheerful
music of wind instruments was played. After
a few hours the entire company retired to the
dining room of the imperial palace, where
there was a table for 30. After this concluded,
the distinguished guests traveled back to the
city, where the Count and Countess of the North
honored Prince Kaunitz with a visit. Afterward,
the Countess went to Countess von Chanclos,
the future house-mistress of the Serene
Princess Elisabeth. In the evening the noble
company assembled in the Nationaltheater.


Table of Contents

In 1781, Grand Duke (Großfürst) Paul of Russia (1754–1801) and his second wife, Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna (1759–1828), began a lengthy tour of western Europe that brought them to Vienna for just over six weeks, from 21 Nov 1781 to 4 Jan 1782; on their return journey to St. Petersburg, they visited Vienna a second time, from 4 to 19 Oct 1782. (For a good overview of their tour as a whole, see Rice 2013.) Their sojourns in Vienna—nominally incognito, under the names the “Count and Countess of the North” (Graf und Gräfin von Norden)—have long been known to Mozart scholars from the composer’s references in letters to his father. Mozart initially believed that his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail might be performed during the first visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess, although in the end this did not happen. During their first visit, he had to be content with just one personal performance (so far as we know): for the Grand Duchess, in the celebrated keyboard “duel” with Muzio Clementi on Christmas Eve 1781 (see our entry for 24 Dec 1781). The Grand Duke and Duchess finally heard Die Entführung aus dem Serail on their return visit to Vienna, on 8 Oct 1782, a performance that Mozart himself led from the keyboard (Briefe, iii:239).

Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna (Hermitage)

Alexander Roslin, Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna (1777), Hermitage Museum.

Although the activities of the Grand Duke and Duchess during their Viennese sojourns are reported in considerable detail in the Wiener Zeitung, Mozart is not mentioned. No report of the contest between Mozart and Clementi is known to have been published at the time. The only contemporaneous references to the event are found in Mozart’s letters to his father; all other accounts were published long after the fact. (For a comprehensive survey and evaluation of sources on the duel, see the entry for 24 Dec 1781.) Nor does the Wiener Zeitung mention that Mozart led the performance of Entführung on 8 Oct 1782. The report transcribed above, while naming neither composer nor opera, does at least appear to confirm that the eminent guests (the “hohe Gesellschaft”) attended that performance.

This report is not in itself of tremendous importance as a Mozart document; it serves merely as confirmation of what we already knew from Mozart’s letter, that the Grand Duke and Duchess attended Entführung. However, it does offer the opportunity to re-examine the wider context of the Viennese visits of the Russian nobility, and the musical and theatrical activities that took place during them. A systematic survey of all reports in the Wiener Zeitung during the visits of the Grand Duke and Duchess turns up several musical events that have not previously been noted in the Mozart literature or the literature on Viennese music history; one such event is the wind music at Schönbrunn mentioned in the report transcribed above, and there are several others. The reports in the Wiener Zeitung also show that the Grand Duke and Duchess were avid theater-goers: during their first visit to Vienna, they are reported to have attended performances in the Burgtheater nearly every evening when they were not otherwise occupied and the theater was open; and during their second visit they attended theatrical performances on thirteen of the fourteen days that theaters were open during their fifteen-day stay. Thus they did not go out of their way to attend Entführung—rather, they attended nearly everything, including Entführung.

Joseph’s plan for a “dynastic” marriage


Grand Duke Paul was the son of Catherine the Great, succeeding her as Tsar Paul I in 1796 (he was assassinated in 1801). Grand Duke Paul’s second wife was Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, whom he had married on 7 Oct 1776; she took the Russian name Maria Fyodorovna (Мари́я Фёдоровна) upon her conversion to Russian Orthodoxy. In the first half of 1781, Emperor Joseph II had concluded an alliance (some terms of which were secret) with Catherine. In order to cement this Russian alliance through dynastic marriage, in venerable Habsburg tradition (“tu felix Austria, nube”), Joseph hit upon the idea of having Sophie Dorothea’s younger sister Elisabeth of Württemberg (1767–1790) marry his nephew, Archduke Franz (1768–1835), the eldest son of his brother Leopold; as Joseph rightly predicted, Franz would likely reign as emperor someday, given that Joseph had no child of his own to succeed him, and Joseph and Leopold were close in age. Thus the matter of Franz’s marriage was of particular importance. That this marriage could not take place immediately—Elisabeth was just fourteen at the time and Franz thirteen—was not considered an impediment; they eventually married on 6 Jan 1788.

During the time that he was working to persuade all parties to agree to this arrangement (young Archduke Franz was apparently not consulted, and was informed only later on), Joseph was on an extended tour of the Austrian Netherlands, the Dutch Republic, and France. Thus, with the marriage successfully arranged, he was able on his return journey to Vienna to make a surprise call on the Württembergs at their chateau at Montebéliard (Mömpelgard), on 7 Aug 1781. Because Joseph knew by this point that the Grand Duke and Duchess would be visiting Vienna in the autumn, and because he wanted to arrange for Elisabeth to be educated in Vienna to prepare for her eventual conversion to Catholicism (the children of Friedrich Eugen of Württemberg and his wife Friederike of Brandenburg-Schwedt were raised Protestant), Joseph invited the Württembergs to Vienna during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess. This would give the Württembergs the opportunity for a reunion with their daughter, and Joseph the opportunity to introduce Elisabeth to Vienna. (On Joseph’s Russian alliance, the plan for the dynastic marriage, and his tour in 1781, see principally Beales 2009, chapters 2 and 3).

Although the impending visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess was not reported in the Wiener Zeitung until many weeks later, Mozart was able to tell his father about it in a letter of 1 Aug 1781 (Briefe, iii:143–44), just two days after Johann Gottlieb Stephanie had given him Bretzner’s Belmont und Constanze to compose; the planned visit must already have been the subject of gossip in court circles. Mozart writes of the short time he had been given to compose the opera: Stephanie had told him that he wanted to have the new opera ready by the time the emperor and Count Rosenberg, head of the court theaters, came to inquire about available theatrical repertory for the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess. In his letter of 1 Aug, Mozart writes to Leopold that the opera had to be finished “im halben 7:ber” (by the middle of September). It is difficult to avoid the impression that Mozart was a bit naive in taking Stephanie at his word about the date; there seems to be no reason to think that the Grand Duke and Duchess were expected in Vienna so soon—in fact, Joseph himself was still out town at the time of Mozart’s letter: he returned to Vienna only on 14 Aug, and that was earlier than expected (the emperor’s return was reported as “unvermuthet” in WZ, no. 65, Wed, 15 Aug 1781, [6]). But Mozart, perhaps motivated in part by a pent-up desire to compose a German opera for the court theater, initially forged ahead very quickly, as if the deadline were real. By 29 Aug, however, he was able to write to his father that the Grand Duke and Duchess were not expected to arrive in Vienna until November (Briefe, iii:153) and that he could consequently take more time with the composition. By 6 Oct (Briefe, iii:165), he reported to Leopold that progress on the opera had been further delayed, in part because two of his prospective lead singers, Valentin Adamberger (Belmonte) and Caterina Cavalieri (Konstanze), were occupied learning roles for two Gluck operas. The operas were Alceste (in Italian) and a new German version of Iphigénie en Tauride, which had been chosen to honor (and impress) the Grand Duke and Duchess.

The emperor and his chancellor Prince Kaunitz (Wenzel Anton Fürst Kaunitz-Rietberg) had already corresponded in July about appropriate entertainment for the Grand Duke and Duchess. In a letter of 22 Jul 1781, Kaunitz advised the emperor to bring three or four top singers from Italy to perform “un magnifique opéra serieux italien,” to engage a ballet troupe, and to engage a leading violinist (Kaunitz mentions Pugnani and Nardini) to perform in concerts at the Belvedere palace. Opera seria and ballet were not at all to Joseph’s taste, and he probably found Kaunitz’s suggestions for violinists rather old-fashioned (Pugnani and Nardini had both performed in Vienna in the early 1760s, the heyday of Kaunitz’s influence over cultural politics). On 31 Jul the emperor responded bluntly:

Quant à Vienne je me propose à mon retour d’arranger moi-même le necessaire. À l’egard de l’Opera serieux d’Italie c’est trop tard de se procurer quelque chose de bon et c’est d’ailleurs un spectacle si ennuyant que je ne crois pas pouvoir jamais en faire usage.
With respect to Vienna, I propose to arrange what is necessary on my return. In regard to the opera seria from Italy, it is too late to procure something good, and in any case it is such a boring spectacle that I do not believe that I will ever be able to find a use for it.

The very same day, Joseph wrote to Count Rosenberg, telling him to prepare Iphigénie en Tauride for performance during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess; he informed Rosenberg that the production could include ballets, and that he would attempt to arrange for a visiting ballet company while he was still in France (unpublished letter, Vienna, HHStA, Oberstkämmereramt, Kart. 7, 1781, no. 146; see Rice 1998, 308). But in a letter written from the Württembergs’ chateau at Montebéliard during his surprise visit on 7 Aug 1781, he informed Kaunitz:

Je n’ai rien arranger pour avoir des ballets à Vienne, Noverre étant engagé en Angleterre et l’opera allant se rouvrir au commencement d’Octobre, il n’y a pas moyen d’avoir quelque chose qui vaille, je dois entierement abandonner ce projet, il faudroit donc se contenter du spectacle que se trouve à Vienne.
I have made no arrangements to have ballet in Vienna; Noverre being engaged in England and the opera about to reopen at the beginning of October, there is no way to have something worthwhile, [so] I have to abandon this plan completely. We will have to content ourselves with the entertainment that can be found in Vienna.

Discussion of concerts seems to have been dropped, although one suspects there may already have been “leaks” of the idea in Viennese court circles from Kaunitz’s side. Mozart, at any rate, had heard rumors: on 12 Sep 1781, he wrote to his father: “man redet hier immer von Accademien die man zu Ehre des Großfürsten geben wird” (“there is constant talk here of the academies that will be given in honor of the Grand Duke”; Briefe, iii:156). In spite of Joseph’s dismissive statement in his letter to Kaunitz of 7 Aug, a ballet company under the leadership of Peter Crux was engaged in Munich, where the emperor had stopped on his journey between Montebéliard and Vienna (see the map of Joseph’s route in Beales 2009, 134–35).

It was eventually decided that the most prestigious musical theater that Vienna could offer was the work of its famous and esteemed composer Christoph Willibald Gluck, again living in the imperial capital following the failure of his Echo et Narcisse in Paris in 1779 and a stroke suffered during its rehearsals. Four Gluck operas were performed during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess in 1781, in what Bauman has aptly called a “Gluck revival” (Bauman 1987, 18): a German version of Iphigénie en Tauride, in a translation by Johann Baptist von Alxinger, premiered on 23 Oct 1781, a few weeks before the arrival of the Russian visitors, probably in order to give the new production time to settle in and then performed twice (27 Nov and 9 Dec) during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess; Alceste, given in Italian by the German singspiel company of the Viennese court theater, first in the theater at Schönbrunn on 25 Nov 1781, and then four times in the Burgtheater (3, 13, 19, and 27 Dec); a revival of Orfeo ed Euridice, apparently also given in the original Italian (31 Dec 1781 and 3 Jan 1782), which the company may have decided to add to the repertory only after the success of Alceste; and Die Pilgrimme von Mekka, a singspiel version of Gluck’s opéra comique La rencontre imprévue, which had already been in the repertory of the court theater since 26 Jul 1780, and was performed on 5 Dec 1781 during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess. The Wiener Zeitung specifically noted the distinguished visitors’ attendance at all of these performances except for Orfeo on 31 Dec—and as the paper reports no activities at all for the visitors on that date, it cannot be ruled out that they attended that one as well. No other works of musical theater were premiered during their visit. Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail eventually had its premiere in Vienna on 16 Jul 1782.

The first Viennese sojourn of the Grand Duke and Duchess, 21 Nov 1781 to 4 Jan 1782


The Württembergs reached Vienna first, on 10 Nov 1781: “Duke” (“Herzog”) Friedrich Eugen, accompanied by his wife Friederike of Brandenburg Schwedt; Prince Ferdinand Frederick Augustus (1763–1834), their sixth child and fifth son; and the young Princess Elisabeth (1767–1790), their eighth child and third daughter. (The family’s arrival is reported in WZ, no. 91, Wed, 14 Nov 1781, Anhang [1]; on Friedrich Eugen’s title—he did not become the reigning Duke of Württemberg until 1795— see the Notes below.) They attended the theater most evenings while awaiting the arrival of the Grand Duke and Duchess (they saw Gluck’s Iphigenie in Tauris on 11 Nov); but the theater was closed on 16 Nov, and we know from Mozart’s letter to his father the following day (Briefe, iii:175) that Archduke Maximilian organized on very short notice an impromptu concert for the “Würtembergische Herrschaften” at which Mozart performed and accompanied arias. (This event is not mentioned in the Wiener Zeitung.)

The Grand Duke and Duchess arrived in Vienna on 21 Nov 1781. Nominally they were traveling incognito as the “Count and Countess of the North,” but there was nothing secret about their identity. Their travels and impending arrival had already been reported in the Wiener Zeitung using their actual titles, and their arrival on 21 Nov was described thus:

⁣     Mittwochs gegen Mittag hatten wir
das unschätzbare Glück, Se. röm. k. k. ap.
Majest mit den russisch=kaiserl. Hoheiten,
Herrn Großfürsten, und Frauen Großfür=
stinn, unter den beliebten Namen eines
Grafen, und Gräfinn von Nord, mit De=
ren ansehnlichen Gefolge, allhier eintref=
fen zu sehen [...]
[WZ, no. 94, Sat, 24 Nov 1781, Anhang, [1]]
⁣     Wednesday [21 Nov] around midday
we had the incalculable good fortune to
see the safe arrival here of His Roman
Imperial Royal Apostolic Majesty with the
Russian Imperial Highnesses, the Grand
Duke and Grand Duchess, under the
preferred names of the Count and Countess
of the North.

No secrets there. The Wiener Zeitung itself did not begin to use their “preferred names” regularly until well into December, often continuing to refer to them as the “Großfürst” and “Großfürstinn” during the early part of their stay. The Württembergs soon decided to imitate the “incognito” conceit, and from 12 Dec 1781, the Wiener Zeitung begins to refer to them as “der Herr Graf, und die Frau Gräfinn von Grönningen” (WZ, no. 99, Wed, 12 Dec 1781, [6])—although their son continued to be referred to as “der Herr Prinz Ferdinand von Würtemberg.”

According to reports in the Wiener Zeitung, the distinguished guests attended the theater nearly every evening they were not otherwise occupied and the theater was open; the paper reports (albeit occasionally slightly ambiguously) their attendance at 26 theatrical performances during the 44-day stay of the Grand Duke and Duchess, including all but one of the ten performances of Gluck’s operas during that time, as well as (among many others) Shakespeare’s King Lear on 8 Dec, Salieri’s Der Rauchfangkehrer on 12 Dec, and a double bill on 20 Dec of Georg Benda and Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter’s melodrama Medea, together with Die eingebildeten Philosophen, a singspiel adaptation of Paisiello’s opera buffa I filosofi immaginari. The Russian imperial couple seems not to have been particularly selective in their theater-going: they went to the theater as a matter of course, a pattern that held true for their second visit in Oct 1782. They were, however, evidently especially impressed by Gluck’s operas. The Gazzetta universale, a Florentine newspaper that carried quite detailed reports of the Viennese visits of the Grand Duke and Duchess, reports that on Wed, 28 Nov 1781, Grand Duke Paul visited Gluck to pay his respects and compliments in person, having just seen Iphigenie in Tauris the previous day and the premiere of Alceste at Schönbrunn three days earlier: “... Mercoledì il Granduca si portò a vedere il celebre Maestro di Cappella Cavaliere Gluck …” (“Wednesday [28 Nov] the Grand Duke went to see the celebrated Kapellmeister, Cavaliere Gluck”; Gazzetta universale, no. 101, Tue, 19 Dec 1781, 809). Gluck himself describes the visit, which included a large entourage, in a letter to his friend Franz Kruthoffer on 30 Nov 1781 (Howard 1995, 228; the visit is not reported in the Wiener Zeitung). According to the same report in the Gazzetta universale, immediately after visiting Gluck, the Grand Duke and his entourage visited the illustrious court poet Metastasio; the Grand Duke is reported to have told Metastasio that he had learned Italian precisely in order to be able to read the poet's works.

The company of Peter Crux provided the necessary ballets for Iphigenie in Tauris, Alceste, and Orfeo ed Euridice, as well as for Zemire und Azor, a German version of Marmontel and Grétry’s Zémire et Azor, which the Grand Duke and Duchess saw on 21 Nov, their first evening in Vienna. The company also gave three of Crux’s own pantomime ballets during this period: Progne und Philomele (with music by Peter Winter), which the Württembergs saw on 14 Nov; Pyrrhus und Polixene (likewise with music Winter), given together with Brandes’ tragedy Olivie on 24 Nov, a performance that the distinguished guests attended; and Der Dorfjahrmarkt im Elsaß, which the guests saw twice, on 1 Dec and 6 Dec. The Gazzetta universale reports that in the evening of Sun, 19 Dec, “vi fu un nuovo divertimento di ballo nei Cesarei appartamenti con gran cena ed invito della primaria Nobilità” (“there was a new divertimento di ballo in the imperial apartments with a grand supper to which the first nobility were invited”; Gazzetta universale, no. 1, Tue, 1 Jan 1782, 5). If, as seems likely, the phrase “divertimento di ballo” refers to a choreographed work rather than to an occasion for social dancing, it stands to reason that Crux might have been involved with this event as well.

Although no famous Italian violinist was engaged for the events in 1781, as Kaunitz had initially recommended, and there appear to have been no concerts at the Belvedere, there were several concerts and other non-theatrical musical events in Vienna during the visit of the imperial Russian couple and the Württembergs. After the midday meal on 9 Dec 1781, the Portuguese soprano Luísa Todi gave a concert in the rooms of the Grand Duke and Duchess (“Nach der Mittagstafel wurde in höchst Dero Zimmern [i.e., the rooms of the Grand Duke and Duchess] ein Concert aufgeführet, wobey die Mademoiselle Dodi sich hören zu lassen, die höchste Gnade hatte”; WZ, no. 99, Wed, 12 Dec 1781, [6–7]). It was already known that Todi gave concerts for her own benefit in the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna on 28 Dec 1781, with the participation of Adamberger (announced in the WZ, no. 103, Wed, 26 Dec 1781, Anhang, [3]), and again on 18 Jan 1782 (after the departure of the distinguished guests), this time with the participation of Cavalieri (WZ, no. 4, Sat, 12 Jan 1782, Nachtrag, [2]; both concerts are listed in Morrow 1989, 250). It was also known that Todi gave a series of subscription concerts in the Mehlgrube in Vienna beginning on Sun, 3 Mar 1782 (WZ, no. 18, 2 Mar 1782, Nachtrag, [1]; see Edge 1992, 143). However, her private concert for the Grand Duke and Duchess of Russia on 9 Dec 1781 seems not previously to have been noted in the musicological literature. Having heard Todi’s concert in the afternoon of 9 Dec did not keep the Grand Duke and Duchess from going to the theater: that night they attended Iphigenie in Tauris, and afterwards went to the redoute. The Gazzetta universale reports that the emperor and his distinguished guests also attended Todi’s concert at the end of December (although it places the concert on Sat, 29 Dec, rather than Fri, 28 Dec):

Vienna 31. Dicembre.
     Sabato sera vi fu nel Teatro gran-
de una bellissima Accademia onorata dal-
la presenza dell’Imperatrice [sic], e degli
Illustri suoi Ospiti i quali vi restarono
fino al suo termine: in questa cantò
diverse arie la celebre virtuosa Sig. Lui-
sa Todi, una della più famose de’ no-
stri tempi, che superò l’ espettazione di
tutta l’ udienza, che non cessò di applau-
dire alla di lei voce e abilità nel canto a
segno, che le LL. AA. Imperiali le dimo-
strarono personalm [sic] la loro soddisfazione.
[Gazzetta universale, no. 4, Sat, 12 Jan 1782, 29]
⁣     On Saturday evening [i.e. 29 Dec] there was
a most beautiful academy in the large theater
honored by the presence of the emperor and
his illustrious guests, at which they remained
until the end: the celebrated virtuosa Sig. Luisa
Todi, one of the most famous of our times, sang
diverse arias, and exceeded the expectations
of the entire audience, which did not cease
applauding her voice and dexterity in singing,
to the point that Their Imperial Highnesses personally
demonstrated their pleasure.

(The “Teatro grande” was the Kärntnertortheater, which was larger than the Burgtheater. “LL. AA. Imperiali” refers to the Grand Duke and Duchess, as Grand Duke Paul’s mother was Empress Catherine. From the context, it is clear that “Imperatrice” [“empress”] should be “Imperatore” [“emperor”].)

On 12 Dec, following a performance of Salieri’s Der Rauchfangkehrer, the distinguished guests visited Prince Schwarzenberg (reported in WZ, no. 100, Sat, 15 Dec 1781, [6]). The Gazzetta universale refers to the event as a “grand’ Accademia in Casa il [sic] Maggiordomo Maggiore Principe di Schwartzemberg” (“a grand academy in the house of Obersthofmeister Prince Schwarzenberg”; Gazzetta universale, no. 103, Tue, 25 Dec 1781, 825). Although the “academy” is not specifically said to have been musical, in the context it seems very likely that it was, although no additional details are known at present (this “academy” at Schwarzenberg’s was previously unknown).

The Wiener Zeitung reports that the distinguished guests attended the concerts of the Viennese Tonkünstler-Societät on 22 Dec 1781 and again on 23 Dec, concerts that featured Hasse’s oratorio Sant’ Elena al Calvario; the report states that the Grand Duchess made a donation to the society of 100 ducats, and Duke Friedrich Eugen one of 50 ducats. The entries in the society’s account book for these concerts clarifies that the Grand Duchess gave 100 Kremnitz ducats, worth 430 fl at that time, and Duke Friedrich Eugen gave 50 ordinary ducats (Ordinari Dukaten), worth 211 fl 40  kr. The account book also shows that the emperor donated 100 imperial ducats (kaiserliche Dukaten), worth 426 fl 40 kr (on the values of the various kinds of ducats at this time, see Edge 1991, 218).

TKS 1781-12, receipts (cropped)

Tonkünstler-Societät, receipts from the concerts on 22 and 23 Dec 1781,
Vienna, Stadt- und Landesarchiv, Haydn-Verein B5/11
(photo: David Black)

We know from a letter from Mozart to his father that the piano duel with Clementi took place on Christmas Eve, but no other known documents from the time refer to the contest (see our entry for 24 Dec 1781).

A large concert took place in the rooms of the Grand Duchess the evening of Christmas Day 1781, attended by the emperor and “die höchsten Fremden Herrschaften” (WZ, no. 103, Wed, 26 Dec 1781, Anhang, [1]; “fremd” [“foreign”] is used fairly consistently in the Wiener Zeitung to refer to the Grand Duke and Duchess and the Württembergs). A follow-up report two weeks later explains that the concert was organized by Joseph Haydn:

Von dem letzterwähnten, in den Zim=
mern der Frau Gräfin von Norden den
26 [sic] Christmonats v. J. aufgeführten gros=
sen Concerte, ist noch nachzutragen, daß
selbes den fürstl. Esterhazyschen Kapellmei=
ster, den berühmten Herrn Joseph Hayden
zum Verfasser hatte, und das dabey auf=
gelegte Quartetto von den Herren Luigi
Tomasini, Aspelmayr, Weigl, und Huber,
gespielt wurde, welches von den höchsten
Herrschaften nicht nur mit gnädigstem
Beyfalle beehrt worden, sondern höchst=
selbe geruheten Herrn Hayden, als Com=
positor, mit einer prächtig mit Brillanten
besetzten emaillirten goldenen Dose, die
vier andere obbenannte Herren Tonkünst=
ler aber ebenfalls jeden mit einer golde=
nen Tabattiere zu beschenken.
[WZ, no. 3, Wed, 9 Jan 1782, [7]]
Of the recently mentioned grand concert
that took place in the rooms of the Countess of
the North on 26 [recte 25] December of last
year, it remains to be said that its organizer
was the Kapellmeister of Prince Esterházy,
the famous Joseph Haydn, and the quartet
introduced there was played by Luigi Tomasini,
[Franz] Asplmayr, [Joseph] Weigl, and [Thaddäus]
Huber, which not only was honored with the
most gracious applause of the high nobility, but
these same also condescended to present Herr
Haydn, as the composer, with a magnificent
enameled golden box set with diamonds;
the other four above-mentioned gentlemen,
however, each likewise with a golden
snuff box.

The exact implication of calling Haydn the “Verfasser” here is unclear: it could be taken to mean simply that he was the composer of some or all of the works performed, or it could be taken more generally to imply that he was the organizer of the concert. It is generally agreed, however, that the concert must have included at least one of Haydn’s most recently composed string quartets, from his op. 33, which had not yet been published. However, the initial report of this concert in the Wiener Zeitung on 26 Dec 1781 states that the performers included “die vornehmsten hier befindlichen Tonkünstler, beederley Geschlechts” (“the most distinguished musicians resident here, of both sexes”), implying that the program included more than just string quartets performed by the all-male group named in the report of 9 Jan. It seems previously to have escaped notice that the performers included Francesco Ceccarelli (1752–1814), a castrato in the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg; just a few months earlier, Mozart had composed for Ceccarelli the recitative and aria “A questo seno deh viene – Or che il cielo a me ti rende,” K. 374. Mozart mentions Ceccarelli’s participation in the Christmas concert in the letter to his father completed on 26 Dec; he writes: “— der Ceccarelli empfiehlt sich; er hat gestern by hofe gesungen. —” (Briefe, iii:188, “Ceccarelli sends his regards; he sang at court yesterday”). Ceccarelli seems to have arrived in Vienna around 23 Nov, and remained, as we shall see, at least through New Year’s (on his arrival, see Briefe, iii:176).

An account book from the Viennese court theater records a payment of 1177 fl 36 kr (276 imperial ducats) to the participants in the concert on Christmas Day (see Edge 1991, 228 and 230, note b, and Edge 1992, 142–43), charmingly referring to them as “the young people” (“die jungen Personen”). It is unclear whether this amount included the value of the lavish gold box and the snuff boxes, or whether it may have been an additional monetary reward. Given the reference in the initial report on 26 Dec to “die vornehmsten hier befindlichen Tonkünstler,” a group to which Mozart certainly belonged, we should not rule out the possibility that he might have taken part in this concert, although he does not mention it in his letters. We should perhaps also not rule out the possibility that Mozart’s 50-ducat reward for his contest with Clementi the previous day (and Clementi would likely have received a similar reward) may have been included within the 276 ducats recorded in the account book, although that would have left relatively smaller rewards for Haydn and the others who performed on Christmas Day.
New Year’s Day 1782 was celebrated with a gala at court, and the “public” midday meal was accompanied by Tafelmusik that amounted to a full-scale concert:

⁣     Mittags speisten Se. kaiser. Maje=
stät mit ersagtem Durchl. Erzherzoge öf=
fentlich, unter Aufwartung der auswär=
tigen Herren Bothschaftere, Ministers,
und des gesamt hohen Adels, bey ei=
ner herrlichsten Vokal= und Instrumen=
talmusick, und wurde von dem äußeren
Hofstaate zur Tafel gedient; die fremde
höchst= und hohe Herrschaften sahen al=
le diese grosse Feyerlichkeiten inkognito
[WZ, no. 1, Wed, 2 Jan 1782, [6]]
⁣     At midday His Imperial Majesty
publicly dined with said serene archduke,
attended by the external ambassadors,
ministers, and the entire high nobility, with
a most magnificent vocal and instrumental
music, and they were served at table by the
staff of the the external courts; the highest
and high foreign nobility watched all of these
great festivities incognito.

The Gazzetta universale reports that the vocal soloists were Luisa Todi and Ceccarelli:

VIENNA 3. Gennaio.
     Jer l’altro primo giorno dell’ an-
no la Corte si trovò nella massima ga-
la, e vi fu servizio di Chiesa, e Ta-
vola, alla quale pranzarono in forma
pubblica S. M. l’Imperatore, e l’ Arci-
duca Massimiliano sotto il Trono. Du-
rante il pranzo cantarono diverse arie
la celebre virtuosa Sig. Todi, e il Sig.
Ceccarelli virtuoso di Camera dell’ Ar-
civescovo di Salisburgo. I Conti del
Nord osservarono in luogo a parte tut-
ta la funzione unitamente ai Principi
di Wittemberg. Questa è stata la pri-
ma gran gala eseguita sotto il glorioso
Regno dell’ Augustissimo Cesare. [...]
[Gazzetta universale, no. 5, Tue, 15 Jan 1782, 37]
Vienna, 3 January.
     The day before yesterday, the first
day of the year, was a magnificent gala at
court, and there was a church service and
Tafel at which His Majesty the Emperor and
Archduke Maximilian dined publicly beneath
the throne. During the meal the celebrated
virtuosa Sig. Todi and Sig. Ceccarelli, virtuoso
in the kapelle of the Archbishop of Salzburg,
sang diverse arias. The Counts of the North
observed the event incognito together with
the Princes of Württemberg. This was the
first grand gala to take place under the
glorious reign of the most August Emperor [...]

The phrase “sotto il Trono” may refer to Joseph II and Max Franz being seated beneath an opulent canopy of the sort shown in the painting by Martin van Meytens below. This was an old-fashioned “öffentliche Tafel,” accompanied by a full concert as Tafelmusik, an event of the sort that had been common in the reign of Joseph’s mother Maria Theresia before the death of her consort, Francis Stephen in 1765, but which Joseph himself, who disliked the pomp of traditional court ceremony, had generally avoided (the report in the Gazzetta universale points out that this was the first during his reign). The phrase “Principi di Wittemberg,” who watched incognito with the Grand Duke and Duchess of Russia, probably refers to all of the Württembergs; the Gazzetta universale consistently refers to Friedrich Eugen as “Principe” (technically correct) rather than “Duke” (“Duca”), a title he did not formally hold until 1795. We have no evidence that Mozart participated in this Tafelmusik (he does not mention it in his letters), but the possibility should not be ruled out. (On the history of the New Year’s gala at the Viennese court in the 18th century, see Rice 1996, 405–410.)

Wedding_Supper_-_Martin_van_Meytens_-_Google_Cultural_Institute (1000x1265)

Martin van Meytens, Hoftafel in the Redoutensaal on the occasion of the 
wedding of Archduke Joseph and Isabella of Parma, 1760 (completed 1763)

Given the very full schedules of the Grand Duke and Duchess and the Württembergs during their first visit to Vienna and the detail with which those schedules were reported in the Wiener Zeitung, it seems unlikely that there are additional unreported concerts yet to uncover. If there were any such concerts, they would have had to have taken place in one of the few open slots in their schedules not covered by the published reports.

On 4 Jan 1782, the Grand Duke and Duchess left Vienna for Italy. The Württembergs (including Princess Elisabeth) departed on 9 Jan.

The second Viennese sojourn of the Grand Duke and Duchess, 4 to 19 Oct 1782


The Grand Duke and Duchess—still as the “Graf und Gräfin von Norden”—arrived in Vienna for their second visit at 7 in the evening on 4 Oct 1782, accompanied by Princess Elisabeth (whose Viennese quarters at the convent of the Salesian sisters on Rennweg had been prepared in the meantime) and her brother, Prince Ferdinand (WZ, no. 80, Sat, 5 Oct 1782, [1]). In spite of having just arrived, the Wiener Zeitung reported that the guests attended the theater that very evening, a performance (in Italian by the German singspiel company) of Sacchini’s La contadina in corte (on this production, see Michtner 1970, 121–22, and Rice 1998, 308–9). The visitors attended performances in the Burgtheater on 12 of their 15 evenings in Vienna. Two of the three evenings that they were not in the Burgtheater can be accounted for. On 11 Oct they attended a performance of Vincenzo Righini’s Armida, performed by a cast of aristocratic amateurs at the house theater of Prince Johann Adam Auersperg (Gazzetta universale, no. 86, Sat, 26 Oct 1782, 692; see also WZ, no. 82, Sat, 12 Oct 1782, [2], where the title of the opera is not given). Theaters were closed on 15 Oct for St. Teresa’s Day, the name day of the late empress Maria Theresia. The only other evening during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess when the Burgtheater was open but the Wiener Zeitung does not report that the visitors attended was 5 Oct, the day after their arrival. In fact, the paper mentions nothing at all about their activities that day, so it is entirely possible that they attended the theater and the Wiener Zeitung simply didn’t report it.

This is the context for the performance of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail on Tue, 8 Oct 1782 (this date for the performance of Entführung is given in both Hadamowsky and Michtner 1970, 471). There is no known evidence that Mozart’s opera was programmed especially for the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess (although as we shall see, Mozart may have tried to imply to Leopold that it was). The opera was very much in the active repertory, having been premiered on 16 Jul 1782; it was performed four times that month, five times in August, and most recently on 6 and 20 Sep. The opera was a success, and it was given several more times between 8 Oct 1782 and the end of its first run in the Viennese court theater on Feb 1783. From that perspective, it is not surprising that a performance of Entführung happened to take place during the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess. Nor is there any reason to believe that they went out of their way to see Mozart’s opera: they attended essentially everything, and one of the works they saw happened to be Entführung.

Mozart, however, took the opportunity to direct the performance on 8 Oct, partly in order to show himself off in front of the distinguished guests. He had known for some time that the Grand Duke and Duchess would be stopping in Vienna again, although he did not know precisely when. In a letter to his father on 24 Aug 1782 (Briefe, iii:224), he cited the uncertainty over their arrival as one of the reasons that he and Constanze were having to delay their trip to Salzburg so that Leopold could meet his new daughter-in-law (in the end, their trip to Salzburg was delayed for a variety of reasons until the second half of the following year). Mozart reported the arrival of the Grand Duke and Duchess in a letter to Leopold on 5 Oct 1782—the same letter in which he told his father that Georg Summer had been appointed keyboard teacher to Princess Elisabeth, a position Mozart himself had coveted (Briefe, iii:236). Only in his letter of 19 Oct, the day the Grand Duke and Duchess departed, did he tell Leopold that he had directed the opera (without naming the day):

heüte ist der Russische Hof wieder abgreiset. lezthin wurde ihm meine oper gegeben; wo ich für gut befunden, wieder an das clavier zu gehen, und zu dirrigiren, theils um das ein wenig in schlummer gesunkene orchestre wieder aufzuwecken, theils um mich |: weil ich eben hier bin :| den anwesenden Herrschaften als vatter von meinem kinde zu zeigen.— [Briefe, iii:239]
Today the Russian court departed again. Just recently my opera was given for them, and I thought it good to go to the keyboard again and direct, partly to reawaken the orchestra, which had sunk somewhat into slumber, partly (because I am here) to show myself before the visiting nobility as the father of my child.

Mozart’s parenthetical “weil ich eben hier bin” is yet another emphasis to Leopold that it was a good thing that he had settled in Vienna (which his father nevertheless continued to doubt), as that was where the opportunities were.

The Grand Duke and Duchess are not known to have attended any concerts during their second visit in Vienna (at present, none are known to have taken place). However, the Wiener Zeitung reports three musical events of some interest connected with their activities during their second visit. The first is the “fröhliche Musik blasender Instrumente” (“the cheerful music of wind instruments”) on their visit to Schönbrunn to watch the harvesting and pressing of grapes on 8 Oct, the same day that they attended Entführung (all described above in the report from the Wiener Zeitung). This event, which continued (or perhaps resurrected) a Viennese tradition established under Maria Theresia and Francis Stephen, is described in more detail in a report in Notizie del mondo (which, however, places the event, probably incorrectly, on Mon, 7 Oct):

⁣ ⁣                 DA VIENNA 8. Octobre.
⁣     Gli augusti ospiti del nostro Monarca Sigg.
Co:, e Contessa del Nord, come il Sereniss.
Principe Ferdinando, e Principessa Elisabetta
di Wurtemberg passano li giorni a questa Cor-
te nella maggiore amicizia, e familiarità.
Jeri si trasferirono con tutto il loro nobile
corteggio fuori alla Reale Villeggiatura di
Schonbrunn, dove, da S. M. l’Imperadore
era Loro stato preperato il divertimento della
Vendemmia. Gl’ illustri Vendemiatori erano
in numero di 28.; cioè 18. Cavalieri, e 10.
Dame, tra le quali si trovava la nobil Don-
na Andrianna Zorzi Barbarigo di Venezia.
Tutti erano vestiti in abiti da campagna, e
le Dame col cappellino inghirlandato di fio-
ri. La Sig. Contessa del Nord, e la Prin-
cipessa Elisabetta furono le prime ad entra-
re nel Vignato a tagliar l’uve, che in se-
guito venivano via portate nelle corbelle dal
Sig. Conte del Nord, e dal Reale Arciduca
Gran Maestro. Dopo due ore circa di tale
divertimento rivennero per il gran viale del
giardino preceduti da una banda di Suonato-
ri al Reale castello, dove gl’illustri Operaj
trovarono imbandito il pranzo. La sera ritor-
narono poi felicemente in Città.
[Notizie del mondo, no. 84, Sat, 19 Oct 1782, 674]
⁣                 From Vienna, 8 October.
⁣     The distinguished guests of our Monarch, the
Count and Countess of the North, with the most
Serene Prince Ferdinand and Princess Elisabeth
of Württemberg, are passing their days at this
court in great friendship and intimacy. Yesterday
they traveled with their noble retinue out to the
royal retreat of Schönbrunn, where His Majesty
the Emperor had prepared for them the festival
of the grape harvest. The illustrious grape pickers
were 28 in number: that is, 18 cavaliers and 10
ladies, among whom was the noble Donna
Andrianna Zorzi Barbarigo of Venice. All
were dressed in costumes of the countryside,
and the ladies had caps garlanded with
flowers. The Countess of the North and Princess
Elisabeth led the former into the vineyard to
pick the grapes, which they then brought
to the Count of the North and the Royal Archduke
Grand Master in baskets. After around two hours
of this festival, they returned via the grand boulevard,
preceded by a band of musicians, to the royal
castle, where the illustrious workers found a
lavish banquet. In the evening they returned
happily to the city.

“Reale Arciduca Gran Maestro” refers to Archduke Maximilian Franz, who was Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. It seems likely that the phrase “blasende Instrumente” in the report from the Wiener Zeitung refers to a Harmonie band, quite possibly an eight-part band (2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, and 2 bassoons) of the sort that the emperor himself had established as his “Kammermusik” that same year.

In fact, the Wiener Zeitung reports that on Sun, 13 Oct 1782, the Grand Duke and Duchess heard the emperor’s “Kammermusik” while dining with the emperor in the Augarten:

Sonntags begaben sich der Herr Graf,
mit der Frau Gräfinn nach der Russi=
schen Kirche; hierauf fuhren Sie zu des
Kaisers Majestät in den Augarten, wo
Sie bey Allerhöchstselber an einer Tafel
von 20 Gedecken das Mittagmahl ein=
nahmen, indessen sich die Kaiserliche
Kammermusik hören ließ. [...]
[WZ, no. 83, Wed, 16 Oct 1782, [1]]

On Sunday the Count and Countess
[of the North] went to the Russian
church; afterwards they drove to His
Majesty the Emperor in the Augarten,
where they took the midday meal with
him at a table for 20, at which the
Imperial Kammermusik performed [...]

The “Kaiserliche Kammermusik” was almost certainly the emperor’s Harmonie band, which is referred to precisely that way in the account books of the court theaters, in which their salaries were recorded.

To our knowledge, neither of these apparent Harmonie performances in Vienna in the first half of Oct 1782 has previously been mentioned in the Mozart literature. Mozart scholars have long puzzled over the intended uses of Mozart’s only two completed works for eight-part Harmonie, both (judging by their paper-types) completed somewhere around the middle of 1782: the Serenade in E-flat, K. 375 in its eight-part version (the original six-part version had been composed the previous year) and the Serenade in C minor, K. 388. Up to now, the only documented occasions at which any music for eight-part Harmonie might have been performed in Vienna in 1782 were the outdoor concerts in a series put on that summer by entrepreneur Philipp Jakob Martin (on Martin’s concerts in 1782, see Morrow 1989, 55–56 and 351, and Edge 1992, 144; on his concerts that year as a possible venue for Mozart’s eight-part arrangement of K. 375, see Edge 2001, 1195ff). The programs for Martin’s concerts remain almost entirely unknown, apart from an announced performance on 18 Aug 1782 of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail arranged for Harmonie (WZ, no. 63, Wed, 7 Aug 1782, Anhang, [2]). Although it would be entirely speculative at this point to posit a connection between Mozart’s two wind serenades and the two newly documented wind-band performances in Oct 1782, it is certainly of interest to have them added to the very short list of known Harmonie performances in Vienna that year. It can probably be safely assumed, however, that the intensely serious K. 388 was not the “fröhliche Musik” heard at Schönbrunn on 8 Oct.

One other musical performance mentioned in the Wiener Zeitung in connection with the visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess probably has nothing to do with Mozart, but is fascinating nonetheless. The Wiener Zeitung reports that on Thu, 10 Oct:

[...]                                  Nach Tische
fuhren die hohen Gäste, begleigtet von
des Erzherzog Maximilians K. H. auf
das dem Herrn Feldmarschall Grafen v.
Lascy angehörige Landgut Neuwaldeck
bey Dornbach. Hier durchgiengen Sie
theils zu Fusse, theils in Pirutschen den
ganzen Garten, bis an den obersten
Theils des Berges; die an verschiedenen
Stellen desselbem vertheilten Chöre lie=
sen während dieser Zeit, fröhliche Mu=
sik erschallen [...]
[WZ, no. 82, Sat, 12 Oct 1782, [1]]

[...]                                      After the meal
the noble guests, accompanied by Imperial
Highness Archduke Maximilian, went to
the estate at Neuwaldegg near Dornbach
belonging to Field Marshal Count von
Lacy. Here they went through the entire
garden, partly on foot and partly in carriages,
up to the highest parts of the mountain; during
this time various points there resounded
with the cheerful music of divided
choruses. [...]

Schloss Neuwaldegg (sometimes referred to at the time as Schloß Dornbach), owned by Field Marshall Count Franz Moritz von Lacy, still exists, as does a small portion of the English garden that Lacy had created there, now known as Schwarzenbergpark. One would love to know what music for divided chorus was sung while the distinguished guests toured the garden.

Schloss Neuwaldegg

Schloss Neuwaldegg (Wikimedia Commons)

Schloß Neuwaldegg, garden

“Drite Ansicht des Gartens Neu-Waldeg zu Dornbach.” Colored engraving by Johann Ziegler after a drawing by Lorenz Janscha. In: Sammlung von Aussichten der Residenzstadt Wien von ihren Vorstädten und einigen umliegenden Oertern. Gezeichnet, und gestochen von Karl Schütz ... und von Johann Ziegler ... Vienna: Artaria, ca 1800. Tafel 46. (ÖNB: 207586-F.Por.)

The Gazzetta universale does not mention the tour of the gardens, but does describe the meal in the palace afterward:

⁣                                            [...] gli Au-
gusti Personaggi furono serviti d' una
grandiosa colazione, il Deser della qua-
le rappresentava il disegno del Castello
suddetto con tutti i suoi giardini, e bo-
[Gazzetta universale, no. 86, Sat, 26 Oct 1782, 692]

⁣                                    [...] the august
dignitaries were served a grand lunch,
of which the dessert represented the
design of the above-mentioned castle
with all of its gardens and groves.

The “Gräfinn v. Chanclos” whom the Grand Duchess visited on 8 Oct 1782 (as mentioned in the report in the Wiener Zeitung transcribed at the top of this page) was Josepha Countess von Chanclos, who did indeed become the “Obersthofmeisterin” of Princess Elisabeth in Vienna (she is mentioned in this capacity in the article on Princess Elisabeth in Wurzbach). She apparently later became the caretaker of Marie-Thérèse, daughter of Louis XVI, during her exile in Vienna in 1796; “Madame de Chanclos” is described in some detail in a letter written by Cardinal de la Fare on 22 Jan 1796 (given in English in Lenotre 1908, 290).


This report from the Wiener Zeitung regarding the activities of the Grand Duke and Duchess of Russia on 8 Oct 1782 was found through direct inspection of the digitized exemplar at ANNO, not through a term search.

Pohl (1882, 183–87) gives a fairly detailed (if slightly error-prone) account of the activities of the Grand Duke and Duchess during their first trip to Vienna, which likely draws on the reports in the Wiener Zeitung (although he explicitly cites only no. 95, Wed, 28 Nov 1781, the issue describing the performance of Alceste at Schönbrunn and the subsequent ball).

Friedrich Eugen of Württemberg is consistently referred to in the Wiener Zeitung at this time as “Herzog” (“Duke”), and the title is also used in the account book of the Tonkünstler-Societät cited above. However, he did not become the reigning Duke of Württemberg until 1795. At the time of Friedrich Eugen’s visit to Vienna in 1781, the title was held by his oldest brother, Karl Eugen (1728–1793). Karl Eugen was succeeded by the second surviving brother, Ludwig Eugen (1731–1795). Friedrich Eugen became Duke of Württemberg only on Ludwig Eugen’s death. The Italian newspapers in 1781 refer to Friedrich Eugen more precisely as “Principe.”

The full details of the activities of the Grand Duke and Duchess and the Württembergs during their time in Vienna (including precisely who attended what) remain to be worked out. Reports in the Wiener Zeitung are not always clear about which of the guests attended the theater, and some dates reported in the Italian papers (the Gazzetta universale and Notizie del mondo) appear to be incorrect. One potential conflict concerns 19 Dec 1781, the date of the “divertimento di ballo” in the imperial apartments mentioned in the Gazzetta universale. At the end of its long report on the activities of the visitors that day, the Wiener Zeitung (no. 102, Sat, 22 Dec, Anhang, [1]) remarks simply: “Abends wurde im Hoftheater die Oper Alceste in italiänischer Sprache aufgeführt” (“In the evening in the court theater the opera Alceste was performed in Italian”). Although the reference can be read in context to imply that the distinguished guests attended (and it has been included in the totals in the Commentary above), the report does not actually say that they did.

There is an apparent discrepancy between the Wiener Zeitung and the Gazzetta universale regarding the date of Todi’s concert in the Kärntnertortheater. Todi’s announcement in the Wiener Zeitung on 26 Dec 1781 states that her concert will take place on “Freytag den 28. dies” (“Friday, the 28th of this [month]”). The Gazzetta universale, in its report from Vienna under the dateline “31. Dicembre”, places Todi’s concert on the preceding “Sabato sera” (Saturday evening, the 29th). It perhaps cannot be ruled out that Todi gave concerts on two successive evenings (the Wiener Zeitung does not report activities for the distinguished guests on either evening, so there are no evident conflicts). However, for Todi to have sung on 28 and 29 Dec and again at the court Tafel on New Year’s Day would potentially have caused vocal strain that she would have taken care to avoid under the circumstances. It seems safest to assume (cautiously) that the concert took place on 28 Dec, and that the Gazzetta universale got the date wrong.

The report from the Wiener Zeitung on 9 Jan 1782 regarding Haydn and the string quartet that performed at the concert on Christmas Day 1781 was reprinted verbatim in the Preßburger Zeitung, no. 4, 12 Jan 1782, [4], including the incorrect date of “26 Christmonats.” The Preßburger Zeitung reprinted several of the reports from the Wiener Zeitung from the time of the first Viennese visit of the Grand Duke and Duchess. Short extracts of these reports in the Preßburger Zeitung that specifically mention music are transcribed in Pandl & Schmid (1971, 181–82), with English translations by Eugene Hartzell (273–74).

Howard’s translation of Gluck’s letter to Kruthoffer of 30 Nov 1781 and her surrounding text consistently but incorrectly refer to Grand Duke Paul as “Tsar” (Howard 1995, 228 and passim). Paul became Tsar only after his mother Catherine’s death in 1796. In a footnote to that letter (note 24), Howard interprets Gluck’s mention of “the Prince of Württemberg” (who was also among the entourage that visited the composer) as referring to “Prince Ferdinand of Württemberg,” who, Howard writes, “was the Tsar’s brother-in-law.” Paul was Grand Duke, not Tsar, and his brother-in-law was Friedrich Eugen, not Friedrich Eugen’s son Ferdinand. As discussed above, the term “Prince” could well have referred to Friedrich Eugen, probably the most likely interpretation here. We have not yet been able to consult Howard’s source for the original of Gluck’s letter, Georg Kinksy, Glucks Briefe an Franz Kruthoffer (Vienna: Strache, 1927).

Hadamowsky lists the tragedy Natur und Liebe im Streit as having been performed in the Burgtheater on 19 Dec 1781, but this appears to be an error. The Wiener Zeitung reports a performance of Alceste on that day, perhaps with the distinguished guests in attendance (although this is not made explicit in the report; WZ, no. 102, Sat, 22 Dec, Anhang [1]).

An engraving by Löschenkohl of a gathering at court in Vienna on New Year’s Day 1782 is reproduced as plate 1 in Beales (2009, 130). It depicts the Grand Duke and Duchess of Russia, the Duke of Württemberg and his family, Emperor Joseph, and Archduke Maximilian, and several other nobility, all watched over by a bust of Catherine the Great and a painting of (the late) Empress Maria Theresia.

The “Weinlese” at Schönbrunn on 8 Oct 1782 seems to have been the emperor’s (or perhaps Archduke Maximilian's) attempt to maintain (or restore) an older Viennese court tradition established in 1758, in which couples from the aristocracy would harvest and press new grapes from the vineyard at Schönbrunn.

Deutsch, in his commentary to the entry in Dokumente (234) for Count Zinzendorf’s report of having attended the performance of Idomeneo at the theater of Prince Auersperg on 13 Mar 1786, states without citing a source that Righini’s Armida had been given in that theater on 23 Jul 1782. We have so far been unable to locate a primary source for this claim. The performance of Armida on 11 Oct 1782 can be considered securely documented: in addition to the sources cited in the commentary above, the performance is reported in the Notizie del mondo, no. 85, Wed, 23 Oct 1782, 681, in words nearly identical to those used in the Gazzetta universale). A printed libretto survives from the production of Armida in the Auersperg theater. The entry for the libretto in Sartori’s catalog reads:

ARMIDA. Dramma per musica in due atti da rappresentarsi sul Teatro di S. A. il sig prencipe Adamo d'Auersperg. Vienna, Gius. de Kurzbek, 1782. Pag. 44. Musica nella maggior parte di Vincenzo Righini. CS-Pu [Sartori, vol. 1 (1990), 283]

As the RISM siglum indicates, an exemplar of the libretto survives in the collection of the National Library in Prague (now CZ-Pu); the catalog record is here. For an interesting discussion of Armida as an example of supernatural opera, see Buch (2008, 196–97). Buch points out the striking similarities of Righini’s overture and Mozart’s overture to Don Giovanni. A piano-vocal score of Righini’s Armida is available as a pdf at IMSLP.

It is perhaps not entirely certain that the phrase “vertheilte Chöre” in the report of music in the gardens of Count Lacy’s estate refers to divided vocal choruses. Divided instrumental ensembles (most likely of winds) should not be ruled out.

Dokumente (183) incorrectly has the Grand Duke and his retinue leaving Vienna on 18 Oct 1782. They actually departed on 19 Oct.

DE is tremendously grateful to John Rice for bringing to his attention the reports in the Gazzetta universale that refer to Todi and Ceccarelli’s participation in the concert on 1 Jan 1782, and to the performance of Armida at the Auersperg theater on 11Oct 1782. Rice also generously shared his archival notes on Emperor Joseph’s letter to Count Rosenberg on 31 Jul 1781, made helpful comments on an earlier draft of this commentary, and answered specific questions about Italian translations. DE would also like to thank David Black for pointing out the entry in the account book of the Tonkünstler-Societät for the concerts on 22 and 23 Dec 1781, and for sharing his photo of the page recording the contributions of the Grand Duchess of Russia, Friedrich Eugen of Württemberg, and Emperor Joseph II. DE’s thanks also go to Michael Lorenz and Ian Allan for answers to questions on particular points in the German translations in this entry.


Bauman, Thomas. 1987. W. A. Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Credit: DE

Author: Dexter Edge

Search Term: NA

Categories: Biography, Reception

First Published: Tue, 21 Jul 2015

Updated: Mon, 24 Dec 2018

Print Citation:

Edge, Dexter. 2015. “The Count and Countess of the North at Die Entführung aus dem Serail (8 October 1782).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 21 July 2015; updated 24 December 2018. https://www.mozartdocuments.org/documents/8-october-1782/

Web Citation:

Edge, Dexter. 2015. “The Count and Countess of the North at Die Entführung aus dem Serail (8 October 1782).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 21 July 2015; updated 24 December 2018. [direct link]