Friday, April 9, 2010

People: Emperor Joseph II

Although Emperor Joseph never utters a word in So Faithful a Heart, he is mentioned often, and his presence is felt throughout. The Emperor played quite an important and influential role in both Mozart's and Nancy's lives. The following information is from Wikipedia.


Joseph II (Joseph Benedikt Anton Michael Adam; 13 March 1741 – 20 February 1790) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I. He was thus the first ruler in the Austrian dominions of the House of Lorraine, styled Habsburg-Lorraine (von Habsburg-Lothringen in German). Joseph was a proponent of enlightened absolutism; however, his commitment to modernizing reforms subsequently engendered significant opposition, which eventually culminated in an ultimate failure to fully implement his programmes. He has been ranked, with Catherine II of Russia and Frederick II of Prussia, as one of the three great Enlightenment despots.
He married Infanta Isabella of Parma, in October 1760—a union fashioned to bolster the 1756 defensive pact between France and Austria (the bride's mother was the eldest daughter of the incumbent King of France) -- with whom he had his only child, Maria Theresa. Isabella died in 1763, and Maria Theresa in 1767. He was reluctant to re-marry; however, for political reasons, he married Maria Josepha of Bavaria in 1765. She died two years later from smallpox, and Joseph never re-married.

You can find the entire article linked here

Although Mozart never served in Joseph's court, the Emperor was quite fond of him, and commissioned several operas from him, including the German-language opera Die Entf├╝hrung aus dem Serail, two Italian comic operas, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Cosi fan tutte.  Joseph II was regarded as "the musical king", and once said to Mozart in regards to his music, “Too many notes, my dear Mozart, and too beautiful for our ears.”  

Joseph II died on February 20th, 1790, of tuberculosis,  having never seen the last opera he commissioned from Mozart (Cosi fan tutte).  His death was a tremendous blow to Viennese musicians, for the next emperor, his younger brother , Leopold II, had no appreciation or use for the arts and as a result, refused to fund them. 







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