Mozart's Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music

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9780060563509: Mozart's Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music

Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons, friends, lovers and fellow artists all figure prominently in his life. And his experience, observation and understanding of women reappear, spectacularly, in the characters he created. As one of our finest interpreters of Mozart's work, Jane Glover is perfectly placed to bring these remarkable women -- both real and dramatized -- vividly to life. We meet Mozart's mother, Maria Anna, and his beloved and devoted sister, Nannerl, perhaps as talented as her brilliant brother but, owing to her sex, destined to languish at home while Wolfgang and their father entertained the drawing rooms of Europe. We meet, too, Mozart's "other family" -- his in-laws, the Webers: Constanze, his wife, much maligned by history, and her sisters, Aloysia, Sophie and Josefa. Aloysia and Josefa were highly talented singers for whom Mozart wrote some of his most remarkable music. Aloysia was the first woman whom Mozart truly and passionately loved, and her eventual rejection of him nearly broke his heart. Constanze, though a less gifted singer, proved a steadfast and loving wife and -- after Mozart's death -- his extremely efficient widow, consolidating his reputation and ensuring that his most enduring legacy, his music, never be forgotten.

Mozart's Women is their story. But it is also the story of the women in his operas, all of whom were -- like his sister, his mother, his wife and his entire female acquaintance -- restrained by the conventions and strictures of eighteenth-century society. Yet through his glorious writing, he identified and released the emotions of his characters. Constanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Ilia and Elettra in Idomeneo; Susanna and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro; Donnas Anna and Elvira in Don Giovanni; Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte; Pamina and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte: are all examined and celebrated. They hold up the mirror to their audiences and offer inestimable insight, together constituting yet further proof of Mozart's true genius and phenomenal understanding of human nature. Rich, evocative and compellingly readable, Mozart's Women illuminates the music and the man -- but, above all, the women who inspired him.

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About the Author:

Jane Glover is one of our preeminent conductors and an expert on Mozart. She studied music at St. Hugh's College, Oxford, and subsequently completed her doctorate on seventeenth-century Venetian opera. She is Music Director of Chicago's Music of the Baroque and conducts regularly with the Chicago Opera Theater. In addition to the New York City Opera, she has conducted at all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in Britain -- at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the English National Opera and Glyndebourne -- and appears regularly at the BBC Proms. She works extensively in the United States, Europe and Australia. She is also a regular broadcaster, with highlights that include a television series on Mozart and the radio series Opera House. She received the honor of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2003.

Review:

‘Jane Glover’s elegant and fascinating book illuminates an aspect of Mozart, and of his work, that has often been touched on but never with such detail and insight. Her vivid portraits enable us appreciate how deeply the remarkable women in his life served as both emotional and artistic muses, and how their spirit informs his masterworks . Glover has lived Mozart’s music intimately, and her knowledge of it and love for it make her a privileged guide to its endless riches, and to how originally and brilliantly Mozart uses it to create some of the most memorable female characters in all of opera.’ Renée Fleming

‘Jane Glover has produced a winner, showing us Mozart from a fresh and fascinating viewpoint: the women in his life. Constanze, for instance, emerges a different creature from the way she is usually portrayed, tempting the reader to revise judgement on her. Written in a delightful, accessible style, this is a book that anyone with an interest in Mozart should have. For the singer it is an indispensable treasure trove of information – altogether, hugely enjoyable’

Dame Janet Baker

‘Nowadays it seems that Mozart’s genius had always existed, fully formed, from the first. But genius does not flourish in isolation. It is Jane Glover’s great gift to show how the women surrounding Mozart – his sister Nannerl, his wife Constanze, and her three talented sisters – all influenced him, making their own contributions to the creation of the most fascinating, dazzling, and complex women on the opera stage’

Judith Flanders, author of Circle of Sisters and The Victorian House

‘Beautifully written and scholarly without seeming so’

Dame Felicity Lott

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