The singspiel Der Stein der Weisen (The Philosopher’s Stone) had its premiere on 11 Sep 1790 in Emanuel Schikaneder’s Theater auf der Wieden, the same theater in which Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte was first performed just slightly over one year later, on 30 Sep 1791. In 1997, David Buch brought to light previously unknown Mozart attributions in a full score of Der Stein der Weisen in the collection of the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek in Hamburg (D-Hs, ND VII 174). The score had formerly belonged to the Hamburg Stadttheater, but had been appropriated by the Soviet army in 1945 at the end of the Second World War; it was returned to Hamburg only in 1991.
The score carries attributions to several composers connected with the Theater auf der Wieden, including Mozart. Mozart’s name appears over three items in the score: the duet “Nun liebes Weibchen,” K. 592a (625), and two sections of the second-act finale; these last two attributions were previously unknown. It has been shown that the Hamburg score originated in a copy shop affiliated with the Theater auf der Wieden, and the attributions were added by a hand that is almost certainly that of one of the principal copyists in that shop. That background and the high musical quality of the sections make the attributions seem reasonably secure. (On the background of Der Stein der Weisen, see Buch, 1997, 2002, and 2007; for additional background on the copy shop of Kaspar Weiß and the handwriting in the attributions, see Edge, 2001.)
This item from the Wiener Zeitung reports the attendance of Emperor Leopold II and his wife at a performance of Der Stein der Weisen in the Theater auf der Wieden on Sun, 13 Feb 1791, and notes that the emperor, along with the visiting Neapolitan court, had attended an earlier performance on Friday, 4 Feb 1791. (For more on the Viennese visit of the Neapolitan court, see our entry for 9 Feb 1791, when the emperor and his royal guests attended a performance of Le nozze di Figaro in the Burghteater.)
“II. KK. HH.” is the abbreviation for “Ihre königliche Hoheiten” (Their Royal Highnesses), and “II. Sizil. MM.” abbreviates “Ihre Sizilianische Majestäten” (Their Sicilian Majesties; at that time, the Kingdom of Sicily encompassed the island of Sicily and a large portion of the lower “boot” of Italy, including the city of Naples).