200th Commemoration of the Death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Child prodigy Mozart composed his first symphonies at the age of nine, and at the Emperor's request wrote his first opera La finta semplice at the age of eleven. After fulfilling courtly duty in Salzburg and an engagement as court organist, Mozart supported himself after 1781 as a free-lance composer and musician. He was commissioned by Emperor Josef II early in his career to write a German national lyrical drama, from which the Kidnapping from the Serail (Entfuehrung aus dem Serail) emerged. The Marriage of Figaro or the Great Day (1786 premier in Vienna's Burgtheater) was an overwhelming success, especially in Prague. Mozart was appointed Imperial Chamber Composer in 1887, yet not even this could halt his financial decline. His health also deteriorated and on December 5, 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died totally impoverished, his brilliant musical achievements unrecognized.
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