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À Madame / Madame Marie Anne Mozart / à / Salzbourg

Bologna, 24 March 1770

We arrived in Bologna today and also found your most recent letter, which was waiting for us at the post office, where Herr Troger had had it delivered, together with some others that His Excellency Count Firmian had forwarded. footnote1 We are well, praise be to God, and live in the hope that God will keep us healthy. We shan`t be staying here for more than 4 days, and no more than 5 or 6 days in Florence. And so, with God`s help, we shall be in Rome at the latest by the Tuesday or Wednesday of Holy Week and shall certainly attend the various services on the Thursday before Easter etc. etc. I wrote to His Excellency the Chief Steward from Parma and not only thanked him for the favours that we had enjoyed in the Firmian household but asked him to inform His Grace that Wolfg. is to write the opera for Milan and to request leave of absence. I wrote to His Grace by today`s post, sending him my most obedient and humble good wishes for His Grace`s election and at the same time asking for leave of absence on account of the opera. Kindly enquire, therefore, whether these two letters have arrived safely. footnote2 The scrittura, or written contract, has already been drawn up and exchanged, so that everything now depends on His Grace`s permission. The contract was drawn up in Count Firmian`s house, and we`re to receive 100 cigliati and free accommodation. The opera begins during the Christmas holidays. footnote3 The recitatives have to be sent to Milan in October, and we have to be there by 1 November so that Wolfg. can write the arias. The prima and seconda donna are Signora Gabrielli and her sister. The tenor is Signor Ettore, now Cavaliere Ettore, as he sports a certain order. The primo uomo and the others haven`t yet been decided on, and it may be that Manzoli will sing. Signora Gabrielli is famous throughout Italy as an astonishingly arrogant fool who besides squandering all her money does the most foolish things. We`ll meet her en route in Rome or Naples as she`s coming from Palermo, and we shall then honour her like a queen and praise her to the skies, as that`s the way to win her favour. In Parma Signora Guari - also known as La Bastardina or Bastardella - invited us to dinner and sang 3 arias for us. I wouldn`t have thought it possible for her to reach C sopra acuto, but my ears convinced me of it. The passages that Wolfg. has written out footnote4 were in her aria, and although she sang these more quietly than the lower notes, they were as beautiful as an Octavin stop on an organ. In a word, the trills and everything else she sang just as Wolfg. has written them down, it`s exactly the same, note for note. She also has a good deep alto down to G. She isn`t beautiful, but nor is she hideously unattractive, but she sometimes has a wild look in her eyes, like that of people subject to epilepsy, and she limps. Otherwise, however, she comports herself well and in consequence has a good character and a good reputation. His Excellency Count Firmian gave Wolfg. a snuffbox set in gold and containing 20 cigliati. We saw the tightrope walkers with the dogs in Mantua and have just seen them again in Parma. I keep forgetting to say that the primo uomo with the Italian actors who were in Salzb. was with the old bore in Verona. But I knew nothing about this. It was very late when they arrived at our inn footnote5 - it was the eve of our departure from Verona - and I was just paying the cameriere. On seeing a Salzburg ducat, the old bore took it in his hands and kissed the portrait, footnote6 saying: That`s my father, who showed us great kindness etc. The prima donna, the bore`s wife, died in Verona. Herr Troger has written to us today to say that he has been told by Marcobruni that Herr Meisner has arrived in Rome. We hope to see him there. This Abbate Marcobruni is the one you knew as a student. He`s going to arrange private rooms for me. This is the most expensive place we`ve been to in Italy. Of course, we`re staying at the Pelegrino, the best inn in the city, but we also have the honour of paying a ducat a day. Everything has gone up in price, all the more so in that there are now more people living in the town than there were only a few years ago. There are more than 1000 expelled Jesuits alone here. Farewell! I`m delighted to hear that Nannerl is busy. But she shouldn`t sing more than she thinks won`t harm her chest. Best wishes to all our friends. We kiss you both a million times. Addio. I am your old
You told me about Herr Wolf but said nothing about Schwarzkopf. footnote7
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, Letter 170 <http://letters.mozartways.com>. Version 1.0, published by HRI Online, 2011. ISBN 9780955787676.
In Mozart's Words. Version 1.0, published by HRI Online, 2011. ISBN 9780955787676.