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226. LEOPOLD MOZART TO PADRE GIOVANNI BATTISTA MARTINI, BOLOGNA

Milan 2 January 1771
Most Revd. P Maestro footnote1
Most Est Padre
While wishing you a most Happy New Year, I cannot forgo this opportunity to inform you that my son`s opera has been most favourably received in spite of great opposition from his enemies and from those who are envious of his gifts and who, before they had seen a single note, had spread the rumour that the music was German and barbarous, lacking in form and content and impossible for the orchestra to perform, leading half the city of Milan to wonder whether the first opera of the season would be anything other than a botched job. One person was clever enough to go to the prima donna with all her arias and even the duet, all of which had been written by Abbate Gasparini of Turin, in other words, the arias written for Turin, in an attempt to persuade her to use all those arias and not to accept anything written by this boy, who was said to be incapable of writing a single decent aria . footnote2 But the prima donna said that she`d first like to see my son`s arias; and having seen them, she declared herself content and even supremely content with them. In spite of this, the slanderers kept spreading the most malicious and presumptuous rumours about my son`s opera, only the first instrumental rehearsal so effectively stopped the mouths of these cruel and barbarous slanderers that not another word was heard. All the professors in the orchestra assured the world that the opera was easy to play and that it was clear and straightforward: and all the singers declared themselves content. The first opera in Milan usually has the misfortune of drawing only a small audience, even if it isn`t a total flop, because everyone is waiting for the second opera. But at the six performances that have taken place so far, the theatre has always been packed, and every evening two arias have had to be encored, while most of the others have been much applauded. My dearest Sgr P Maestro, we hope to have news that you are in good health, while still trusting that we shall receive the promised Miserere from your most virtuosic pen and also your 16-part composition. Sgr Giuseppe Prinsechi will not fail to pay you for the expense of having them copied, and as soon as I return home, which will be around Easter, I myself shall not fail to send you everything that I believe will be to your Reverence`s liking. My son humbly kisses your hands and, united with him in all reverence and esteem, I am,
Your R F
most dev and gra servant
Leopoldo Mozart
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, Letter 226 <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.