The Vienna of Mozart’s Last Aria

  • ballgasseoppdeathspot2
    Mozart died in his apartment on Rauhenstein Lane. The house is gone. But stand with your back to the department store now there and you see just what he’d have seen: Ballgasse, named for the indoor tennis court which used to be on the corner.
  • st marx wm tomb
    Mozart was buried in St. Marx Cemetery, a 10 minute tram-ride from the edge of old Vienna. This marker was put up in his honor, but no one knows where he lies -- somewhere under the grass behind the tombstone. The land was reused for later graves.
  • academyofscience ext
    Built between 1753 and 1755, the Academy of Science has an elaborate hall used for concerts by Haydn among others. In MOZART’S LAST ARIA, Nannerl takes part in a charity concert here for Wolfgang’s widow and meets Baron Swieten.
  • haustorte frauenhuber2
    The Frauenhuber is a famous old cafe and this is its even more famous “Haustorte.” It’s not as sweet as it looks, and it’s quite delicious. The Frauenhuber is on the ground floor of a building on Himmelpfortgasse. Wolfgang gave concerts on the next floor up, in what used to be Jahn’s Coffeehouse. In MOZART’S LAST ARIA Nannerl meets Prince Lichnowsky at Jahn’s. They eat something a little like this Haustorte…Well, who could resist? After all, a mystery must include some sins.
  • landhaus gate
    This building on Herrengasse, or Herren Lane, used to be the seat of the Police Ministry and some other government offices in the period of MOZART’S LAST ARIA. Outside this gate, the novel’s climactic scene takes place… But let's not give too much away.
  • theater an der wien entry
    The original building in which Mozart wrote and premiered “The Magic Flute” no longer exists. But this building, which is still called the Theater an der Wien and continues to operate as a theater, stands in its place, a short walk from the center of Vienna.
  • wmdeathspot
    The plaque notes that on this spot, until 1849, stood the house in which Mozart died. It’s on Rauhensteingasse in a very central neighborhood of Vienna. Not sure the plaque would encourage purchase of expensive luggage from the window.
  • stmichale’s
    St. Michael’s Church, across the square from the Emperor’s palace. Here, Schikaneder premiered Mozart’s Requiem. MOZART’S LAST ARIA has some scenes here and in the crypt below it. You can visit the old tombs down there, which include corpses mummified by the dry air, the clothes they were buried in rather well-preserved.
  • prunksaal2
    In 1722, the Emperor ordered a massive palace library to be built for the Hofburg. Johann Fischer von Erlach designed this magnificent hall. Baron Swieten, one of Mozart’s greatest patrons, was head librarian. Several scenes of MOZART’S LAST ARIA take place here, including Nannerl’s concert for the Association of Cavaliers.
  • neuermarktfountain
    In what’s now known as the Neuermarkt, or New Market, there’s this fountain depicting Providence. Behind is the inn where I have Nannerl stay in MOZART’S LAST ARIA. At that time, the square was called the Flour Market. Mozart often performed in the flour-trading hall.
  • DSCN1862
    My wife and son hard at work researching MOZART’S LAST ARIA at the coldest time of the year in Vienna. Behind them is the Staatsoper, the State Opera House, which wasn’t there when Mozart was around. I saw a perfect production of “The Magic Flute” there.

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