MILAN, 2 January.
Yesterday, New Year’s Day, the most
excellent Signor Vicario, provisionally
Marchese Rosales, together with the
newly elected Signor Royal Lieutentant
Don Giovanni Cittadini came to pay their
respects to the most serene Duke of
Modena, as did the Signori Count
Arrigone Casati, Minister of Streets,
and Don Francesco Alciati, Minister of
Supplies for the current year 1771. Also
all of the nobility, officials, and ministers
came in splendid gala to pay respects
to His Serene Highness, who that morning
gave a lavish meal for the leading nobles,
ministers and officials. In the evening
many ladies and as many gentlemen
had the honor of being admitted to kiss
the hand of Her Serene Highness the
Princess Maria Ricciarda Beatrice d’Este.
After the hand-kissing, the court moved
on to the theater to enjoy the opera
Mitridate, which received universal
Mozart’s Mitridate premiered in Milan on 26 Dec 1770, as the first of two operas given during the carnival season (the second was Carlo Monza’s La Nitteti). Although it has generally been assumed that Mitridate was performed around 20 times in all, only two other performances had previously been documented, both from references in Leopold Mozart’s letter of 29 Dec 1770, in which he mentions a performance that day and another two days earlier, on 27 Dec (Briefe, i:411–12). Further performances are implied by his letter of 5 Jan 1771, where he writes that they are going to the opera “täglich” (“daily”; Briefe, i:413), but no other specific dates have been known up to now.
The report transcribed above from the newspaper Notizie del Mondo shows that Mitridate was performed on New Year’s Day 1771 in the presence of Francesco III d’Este, Duke of Modena and governor-general of the province of Austrian Lombardy (the Duchy of Milan), and his granddaughter Maria Beatrice d’Este, whose marriage later that year to Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand would become the occasion for Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba (see our entry for 17 Oct 1771). Francesco was nominal ruler of the province at that time, and thus provided Milan with something like a court on festive occasions, but he played no substantive role in ruling. (See our entry for 4 Apr 1770 on Mozart’s patron Count Carlo di Firmian, Austrian minister plenipotentiary and the de facto ruler of the province.)
On the reception of Mitridate and the number of performances in its premiere run, see our entry for 16 Jan 1771.
Barblan, Guglielmo, and Andrea Della Corte, eds. 1956. Mozart in Italia. Milan: Ricordi.
Tagliavini, Luigi Ferdinando. 1966. Mitridate, Re di Ponto. Neue-Mozart Ausgabe, II/5/4. Kassel: Bärenreiter.
Wignall, Harrison James [= Harrison Gradwell Slater]. 1995. “Mozart, Guglielmo d’Ettore and the Composition of Mitridate (K. 87/74a). Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University.
Search Term: mitridate
Rome, Library of Modern and Contemporary History
First Published: Thu, 31 Dec 2020
Edge, Dexter. 2020. “Princess Maria Beatrice d’Este attends Mitridate (1 January 1771).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 31 December 2020. https://www.mozartdocuments.org/documents/1-january-1771/
Edge, Dexter. 2020. “Princess Maria Beatrice d’Este attends Mitridate (1 January 1771).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 31 December 2020. [direct link]