Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the 18th-century Austrian composer and womanizer had become a legend in his own lifetime. He could have become rich as well, but unfortunately money went through his hands like water. Admittedly his famous operas did not really pay off, for example he got no more than (what today would be in Austrian money…) 11.000 euros, that is less than 10.000 $, for his opera masterpiece „Le nozze di Figaro“, composed in 1786. But Mozart managed to take advantage of his reputation in Vienna’s high society. Being a “Kammerkompositeur” (Imperial Chamber Composer), he earned an extra annual salary of 20,000 €, doing nothing more than writing dance music for court balls. In those days Viennese families were paying him over 20.000 € a year for piano-lessons!

In 2006 the Austrians will celebrate the so-called “Mozart anniversary year”, turning their Wunderkind into hot cash. Today the Mirabell Food Company sells over 60 million pieces of creamy “Mozart Chocolates” annually, smokers collect Mozart-ash-trays, little children love dice games inspired by “ Die Zauferflőte”, Mozart’s last musical effort. Anything else? Well, for all “bon vivants” I would suggest the “Mozart-bra”, just touch it and you will hear “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, Mozart’s sensual serenade for string instruments…

All in all, the Vienna tourism industry counts on additional 250.000 overnight stays in the “Mozart-year” 2006 and expects an extra turnover of over 3 million €, that is more than 2 million $.
Not bad for a 9-million-people-country, right ?

(Source: “Rondo”, German magazine for classical music, Nr. 6/2005)


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