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À Madame / Madame Marie Anne Mozart / à / Salzbourg / par Mantova. / Insprugg.

Milan 2 January / 1773

A Happy New Year!
Last time I forgot to wish you a Happy New Year as I was writing not just in a hurry but in a state of some confusion, my thoughts were elsewhere as we were just on the point of leaving for the theatre. The opera passed off success, even though a number of extremely annoying incidents took place on the first night. footnote1 The first problem was that the opera was due to start, as usual, one hour after the Angelus but in the event began 3 hours after it, in other words not until around 8 o`clock German time, and didn`t end till 2 in the morning. The Archduke finished his midday meal only shortly before the Angelus and then had to write 5 letters of New Year greetings to T Majest the Emperor and Empress, and he writes very slowly etc. etc. Just imagine: the whole theatre was so full by half past 5 that no one else could get in. At every first night the singers are always very nervous at having to appear for the first time before such a distinguished audience. For 3 hours the singers were kept anxiously waiting, while the orchestra and the entire audience - many of them standing - had to wait in a state of impatience for the opera to start, growing increasingly hot as they did so. Secondly, you need to know that the tenor, whom we`ve had to take on for want to anything better, is a church singer from Lodi and had never performed in such a prestigious theatre and had appeared as primo tenore only twice before in Lodi, he was finally signed up only a week before the opening night. He has to gesture angrily at the prima donna in her first aria, but his gesture was so exaggerated that it looked as if he was going to box her ears and knock off her nose with his fist, causing the audience to laugh. Fired by her singing, Siga de Amicis didn`t immediately understand why the audience was laughing and was badly affected by it, not knowing initially who was being laughed at, so that she didn`t sing well for the whole of the first night, in addition to which she was jealous because the Archduchess clapped as soon as the primo uomo came out onstage. This was a typical castrato`s trick as he`d ensured that the Archduchess had been told that he`d be too afraid to sing so that the court would encourage and applaud him. In order to console Signora de Amicis, the Archduchess summoned the singer to court at noon the very next day and for a whole hour she had an audience with Their Roy Highnesses, footnote2 only then did the opera start to go well, and whereas the theatre is normally very empty for the first opera, it has been so full on the first 6 evenings |: today is the seventh :| that it`s hardly been possible to slip in, and generally it`s the prima donna who has maintained the upper hand and whose arias have been encored. I`m writing this at Madme d`Aste`s. She sends her regards and wishes you a Happy New Year. Best wishes to all our good friends both inside and outside the house, we kiss you many 1000000 times, and I am your old
Mzt.
Wolfg. sends his special greetings, we`re well, praise be to God.
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, Letter 275 <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.