“Entführung” in Dischingen; the Willmann sisters; and Mozart in a play by Frambach

Charlotte von Hildburghausen

We have just added three new documents to our site, which now includes 161 documents. More than 150 others are still to come!

Walburga Willmann as a student of Mozart

him in Vienna in the mid 1780s and gave concerts there: Maximilian, a cellist, Walburga, a pianist, and their younger sister Magdalena, a singer who went on to have the most prominent career of the three. It is often claimed in the reference literature that Walburga was a student of Mozart, but no source is ever cited. The most likely primary source for the claim is a previously overlooked reference to Walburga in an article published in 1791. The reference is rather ambiguous and does not fully resolve the question of whether she actually studied with Mozart, but it does provide the opportunity to re-examine the early lives and careers of the Willmanns in Vienna. The commentary by Dexter Edge includes many new documents on the family and corrects some erroneous dates in the reference literature. In an appendix, Dexter Edge and Michael Lorenz present new information on the Viennese violin prodigy Josepha Ringbauer, who performed at a concert given by the Willmanns in Vienna on 16 Mar 1784.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Thurn und Taxis court in Dischingen

In the summer of 1791, Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail was performed in Dischingen at the summer residence of the Thurn und Taxis court. The performers included Duchess Charlotte von Hildburghausen as Konstanze; her sister Princess Therese von Thurn und Taxis as Blonde; Magdalena Willmann as Belmonte; Leopold Mozart’s former student Heinrich Marchand as Pedrillo; Baron Theodor von Schacht, music intendant of the Thurn und Taxis court, as Osmin; and Count Ignaz von Klenau as Bassa Selim. The performance was led by Walburga Willmann. A report of this performance in the Musikalische Monathsschrift has been known to Beethoven scholars since the first edition of Thayer’s biography in 1866, but has been overlooked in the Mozart literature. Dexter Edge and David Black examine this report and a second one about the same event: a panegyric on the performance and its staging by Enlightenment journalist Wilhelm Ludwig Wekhrlin. In the discussion of the cast, special attention is given to Duchess Charlotte, considered by some to have been on a par with the best Italian opera singers of the time. An appendix includes a complete transcription and translation of a long and detailed obituary of Charlotte published in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung in 1818.

A reference to Mozart in Frambach’s play Menschenwerth

A character in the 1791 play Menschenwerth by Johann Heinrich Frambach names Mozart at the end of a list of composers of Italian opera. David Black and Dexter Edge sketch Frambach’s biography and place his reference to Mozart in the wider context of the play. Menschenwerth is one of five plays published or performed during Mozart’s lifetime now known to contain references to him.

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