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The saying that no-one is a prophet in their own land could be easily applied in relation to that which the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart experienced with Prague.
Equally adored and misunderstood in his homeland, Prague was the only place that always faithfully admired the works of Mozart and mourned his death like no other place. The musician spent several periods of time here and personally directed some of the operas that he himself had composed.
The Mozart Museum is in the Villa Bertramka, originally a farm that was turned into a country house in the 18th century. Before, it was surrounded by vineyards although today it stands in the middle of the rather depressing district of Smichov. The first owner of this property was Frantisek Bertram and later the composer Frantisek Dusek and his wife, the famous singer Josefina Susková. His friendship with this couple led to Mozart’s relationship with the city of Prague. In fact, the composer stayed in the Villa Bertramka on several occasions.
In 1838, the housed passed into the ownership of the Popelka family, who turned it into a place of devotion on the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mozart. At the beginning of the 20th century, the last heir of the family decided to donate the property to the Mozarteum in Salzburg, which partially turned it into a museum.
Finally, it was the State that took charge of the place after the Second World War. Coinciding with the bicentenary of the birth of Mozart, a new museum was opened, which came to form part of the musical section of the National Museum. In 1973 a new period of reforms began, which culminated in the opening of the museum you see today on the bicentenary of the opera “Don Giovanni”.
If you want to visit the museum, make sure you do so in the late afternoon, when the last sunbeams bathe the garden, and if you are there in summer, to enjoy some of the classical music concerts held in the garden.
Mozart’s love affair with Prague began as a result of his friendship with the Dusek couple. Among his merits, Frantisek Dusek was the founder of the Czech piano school and trained many composers musically. His wife, the singer Josefina, and he, met Mozart during his tours of Dresden, Vienna and Salzburg, where they became friends.
In 1787, Mozart received his first invitation to visit Prague, a city still buzzing due to the success of “The Marriage of Figaro”. He stayed in the palace of Count Thun and was given the commission for writing an opera for Prague in exchange for one hundreds ducats.
On his second visit, this time accompanied by his wife Constanze, he stayed in the Villa Bertramka. They say it was here where he finished the score of “Don Giovanni”, a few hours before the premiere. He directed the opera himself in the Theatre of the States.
From Mozart’s friendship with his hosts we have also been given the aria “Bella mia fiamma, addio”, which Mozart composed at the behest of Josefina.
In 1791 he spent a brief period in the Villa Bertramka although his last official visit was in the summer of the same year, a few months before his death.
Mozart, now ill, came with the task of composing an opera to commemorate the coronation of Leopold II. In just 18 days, he wrote “La clemenza di Tito”, although it was not as successful as the earlier ones. At least he had the consolation that “The Magic Flute” recovered the Czechs’ passion for Mozart, although for its premiere in Prague he was already composing the “Requiem”.
Physically very weak, he had to return to Vienna and died in the utmost poverty on the 5th of December 1791.
Before the indifference of his countrymen, the people of Prague paid a heartfelt homage in honour of the great composer who history would eventually exalt. In fact, on the news of his death 4,000 people gathered in Saint Nicholas of Malá Strana to mourn him. As you will have seen for yourself, with the centuries the passion that the city feels for Mozart has only increased.
Basilica and convent of Saint George (Bazilika a Kláster Sv. Jirí) (33)
Church of St. Nicholas (Sv. Mikulas) (11)
Monastery of Strahov (Strahovsky Klaster) (26)
Town Old Building of the Old Town (Staromestská Radnice) (9)
Cathedral of Saint Vitus (Katedrála Sv. Víta) (31)
Golz-Kinsky Palace (Palác Kinskych) (4)
National Gallery, Sternberg Palace (Národní Galerie - Sternbersky Palác) (29)
Saint Nicholas of Malá Strana (Sv. Mikulás) (40)
Charles Bridge (Karlûv Most) (2)
Our Lady of the Snows (Panna Marie Snezná) (52)
The Astronomical Watch (10)
Celetná Street (7)
Church of Saint Thomas (Sv. Tomás) (44)
Jan Hus, Bethlehem Chapel (Betlemska Kaple) (6)
Lobkowicz-Schwarzenberg Palace (Lobkovicky Palác) (36)
National Theatre (Národní Divadlo) (48)
Our Lady of Loreto (Loreta) (28)
Royal Way. Nerudova. (37)
State Opera (Státní Opera) (57)
Cernín Palace (Cernínsky Palác) (27)
Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia (Kláster Sv. Anezky) (16)
Jewish Quarter of Prague. The Golem. (21)
Masaryk Quay (Masarykovo Nábrezí) (51)
Old Jewish Cemetery (Stary Zidovsky Hrbitov) (24)
Petrin Hill (Petrínské Sady) (42)
Saint John Nepomucene (Sv. Jan Nepomucky na Skalce) (46)
Vtrba Garden (Vrtbovská Zahrada) (38)
Charles IV Square (Karlovo Námesti) (49)
Cubist Houses (Kubistické Domy) (59)
Kampa Island (41)
Municipal House (Obecní Dum) (12)
Old Town Square (8)
Royal Garden (Kralovská Zahrada) (35)
Slav Island and the Mánes Gallery (Slovansky Ostrov) (50)
Wallenstein Palace (Valdstejnsky Palác) (43)
Church of Saint James (Sv. Jakub) (19)
Golden Lane (Zlatá Ulicka) (32)
Letná Park (Letenské Sady) (17)
National Avenue (Narodni) (54)
Old-New Synagogue (Staronová Synagóga) (25)
Royal Palace (Stary Kralovsky Palác) (34)
Slavic Monastery of Emmaus (Kláster Na Slovanech -Emauzy-) (45)
Wenceslas Square (Václavské Námeí) (47)
Castle Gallery (Obrázarna Prazskeho Hradu) (30)
Museum of Dvorák (Muzeum Antonína Dvoráka) (53)
Prague City Museum (Muzeum Hlavního Mesta Prahy) (18)
Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art (Sbirka Moderního a Soucasneho Umení) (20)
National Jewish Museum, Maisel and Pinkas Synagogues (23)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart Museum. (60)