5 November 1784

Box-office receipts from Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the Kärntnertortheater

Ein Quodlibet zum Abschiede, von J Friedel, Schauspieler, “Abdera” [Vienna], 1785

      der aufgeführten Stücke und ihrer Einnahme.

     Den 5ten November 1784 fieng die Schika=
neder und Kumpfische Gesellschaft ihrer Vorstellun=
gen an. Ich will mich von allem Räsonnement über
die gegebenen Stücke enthalten, und dafür das Ver=
zeichniß derselben mit der Einnahme hersetzen.
den 5ten Nov. 1784 Die Entführung aus dem
                                 Serail. Oper .. .. .. .. 447 [fl] 25 [kr]

Quodlibet, 43 (snippet)


       of the works performed and their receipts.

     The Schikaneder and Kumpf company began
its performances on 5 November 1784. I will refrain
from all evaluation of the pieces given, and instead
set down a list of them, along with their receipts.
5 Nov 1784. Die Entführung aus dem
                                 Serail. Opera .. .. .. .. 447 [fl] 25 [kr]


The traveling theatrical company of Emanuel Schikaneder and Hubert Kumpf was in residence at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna from Fri, 5 Nov 1784 until Sun, 6 Feb 1785, giving 31 performances in all. Deutsch (Dokumente, 203) notes that the company began its residency with a performance of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail on 5 Nov 1784, but he gives no source, although Komorzynski (1951, 73) had already published a report from the Wiener Zeitung on this performance; oddly, the report is not included in Deutsch’s Dokumente or either of its supplements:

⁣ Die Schauspielergesellschaft unter der Di=
rektion der Herren Schikaneder und Kumpf
spielt im Theater nächst dem Kärntnerthore, und
hat Freytags den 5. dies zuerst die Oper:
die Entführung aus dem Serail, aufge=
[WZ, no. 91, Sat, 13 Nov 1784, Anhang, 2580]

Wiener Zeitung, 1784-11-13, 2580 (detail)

⁣    The theater company under the direction of
Messrs. Schikaneder and Kumpf is playing
in the Theater by the Kärntnertor, and on Friday
the 5th of this [month] opened with a performance
of the opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

Neue Folge (33–34; see also NMD, 33–34) quotes a longer article in the Wiener Kronik from around this same time that gives more detail on the performance of Entführung, noting that Mozart’s aria for Konstanze, “Martern aller Arten,” had been replaced in the company’s performance by an aria composed by Franz Teyber; this substitution was made, said the Kronik, because the virtuosi for whom Mozart had written the difficult obligato solo parts in “Martern aller Arten” had subsequently joined the Pressburg orchestra.

The writer and actor Johann Friedel (?1751–1789) first became acquainted with Schikaneder in Pressburg in 1782 (Gugitz 1905, 221; Sonnek 1999, 57); Friedel acted with and wrote for Schikaneder’s company during its residency there. He renewed his friendship with Schikaneder during the company’s residency in Vienna, and the company performed Friedel’s new play Der Fremde on 17 and 27 Dec 1784. In his Quodlibet zum Abschiede (A Quodlibet in Farewell), published in 1785, Friedel listed the entire Viennese program of the Schikaneder-Kumpf company and recorded the box-office receipts for each performance; it is likely that Friedel was bidding farewell to the company itself, which dissolved shortly after the end of its run in the Kärntnertortheater.

Friedel’s listing of the company’s program and its receipts was first published in transcription by

Anke Sonnek (1999, 62–63); Gugitz (1905, 235) mentions the Quodlibet and notes that it records the receipts, but he does not transcribe them. The program printed in the Quodlibet shows that the company performed mostly on Fridays and Saturdays, with just a few exceptions: performances were given on Mon, 20 and 27 Dec (because Christmas fell on Sat, 25 Dec that year); on Mon, 31 Jan 1785; and every day, Thu–Sun, 3–6 Feb, at the very end of the run.

The receipts for Entführung, 447 fl 25 kr, were higher than average, but by no means the highest of the company’s residency. Receipts ranged from a paltry 58 fl 36 kr, for the tragedy Natur und Liebe im Streite on 13 Nov 1784, to a high of 752 fl 22 kr for the performance of Paisiello’s König Theodor (Il re Teodoro in Venezia) on 4 Feb 1785, the first of three performances of the opera that served as the grand finale of the company’s residency in the Kärntnertortheater.

Friedel includes a few summary statistics at the end of his listing of the company’s program and receipts. As Sonnek has pointed out (1999, 63, note 202), his calculations are incorrect; however, her recalculations are incorrect as well. The total receipts from the 31 performances were 10788 fl 1 kr (Friedl gives 11788 fl; Sonnek gives 10783 fl 54 kr). The mean (average) receipts per performance were 348 fl (Friedel gives 380 fl; Sonnek gives 347 fl 85 kr [sic]). Thus the receipts for Entführung were significantly above average; it had the ninth highest receipts overall. Perhaps the most famous performance in the run was that of Joseph Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata (listed by Friedel as “Belohnte Treue”) on 18 Dec 1784, with receipts of 713 fl 12 kr. (Haydn’s opera was performed again on 20 Dec, with receipts of 468 fl 32 kr.) A notice published in the Wiener Zeitung on 22 Dec reports that for the performance on the 18th, the theater was so full by 6 o’clock that 600 people had to be turned away (Sonnek 1999, 61). The same notice mentions that Emperor Joseph and his court frequently attended the company’s performances in the Kärntnertortheater.

Friedel (45) writes that the expenses for the 31 performances were 7856 fl; thus the net profit (assuming that Friedel calculated the expenses correctly) was 2932 fl. He notes that ticket prices at the Kärntnertortheater were one-third lower than those charged by the Burgtheater (the court theater), and he extrapolates that the Schikaneder-Kumpf company’s average receipts per performance, had they charged Burgtheater prices, would have been 506 fl. He has calculated incorrectly here as well. Assuming he means that the ticket prices in the Kärntnertortheater were 67% of those in the Burgtheater, the average receipts of the company would have been 519 fl 24 kr, had they charged Burgtheater prices and drawn an equivalent audience.

The Schikaneder-Kumpf company announced their intention to perform Le Mariage de Figaro by Beaumarchais on 3 Feb 1785, in a German translation by Johann Rautenstrauch; but the performance was forbidden by the emperor at the last minute, and the play Die Drillinge by Bonin was performed in its stead (see Sonnek 1999, esp. 61 and note 199).

By the end of the company’s run, Friedel seems to have been living with Eleonore Schikaneder, Emanuel’s wife; Emanuel is said to have been spreading his affections quite liberally elsewhere (Sonnek 1999, 63). In 1788, Eleonore and Friedel took over the direction of the Freihaustheater in the Viennese suburb of Wieden, the theater in which Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte was to begin its wildly successful premiere run in 1791. Friedel, however, did not live to see it: he died on 31 Mar 1789 at the age of 38.


On the title page of the Quodlibet, Friedel whimsically gives the place of publication as Abdera, a city-state in ancient Thrace. The book was actually published in Vienna.

This item is given in facsimile in Krzeszowiak (2009, 418).


Gugitz, Gustav. 1905. “Johann Friedel.” Jahrbuch der Grillparzer-Gesellschaft. xv:186–205.

Komorzynski, Egon. 1951. Emanuel Schikaneder. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des deutschen Theaters. Vienna: Doblinger.

Krzeszowiak, Tadeusz. 2009. Freihaustheater in Wien, 1787–1801. Wirkungsstätte von W. A. Mozart und E. Schikaneder. Sammlung von Dokumente. Vienna: Böhlau.

Lorenz, Michael. 2008. “Neue Forschungsergebnisse zum Theater auf der Wieden und Emanuel Schikaneder.” Wiener Geschichtsblätter 4:15–36. [pdf]

Sonnek, Anke. 1999. Emanuel Schikaneder. Theaterprinzipal, Schauspieler und Stückeschreiber. Kassel: Bärenreiter.

Credit: Sonnek

Author: Dexter Edge

Search Term: serail

Categories: Biography, Reception

First Published: Thu, 12 Jun 2014

Updated: Tue, 14 Nov 2017

Print Citation:

Edge, Dexter. 2014. “Box-office receipts from Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the Kärntnertortheater (5 November 1784).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 12 June 2014; updated 14 November 2017. https://www.mozartdocuments.org/documents/5-november-1784/

Web Citation:

Edge, Dexter. 2014. “Box-office receipts from Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the Kärntnertortheater (5 November 1784).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 12 June 2014; updated 14 November 2017. [direct link]