Sunday, July 4, 2010

The 18th Century: Meanwhile, back in the American colonies...

The plot of So Faithful a Heart takes place primarily in Vienna in the early to late 1780s. While Nancy was a British subject, born in London in October of 1765, she probably knew of and cared very little for the politics of the time. The American colonies were far across the Atlantic, and the problems and conflicts brewing over there were His Majesty, King George's concern. In July of 1776 she was only ten years old, and only starting to focus her energies on her singing career while her brother, Stephen, who was supposed to be studying composition at the music conservatory in Naples, was actually cavorting about, and getting into trouble in Italy with a Welsh painter.

Back in Salzburg, twenty-year-old Mozart was getting ready for a performance of his Haffner Serenade in D, which was commissioned by the prominent Haffner family of Salzburg. Employed at the time by Prince Archbishop Coloredo, of Salzburg, Mozart was pretty much hating his life. He was young, salty, well-traveled and ready to get out from underneath the thumbs of both the Archbishop and his father. Two years later, he would be in Paris with his sick mother, and on the 4th of July 1778, mourning her death and wondering how he was going to break the news to his father and sister, who were both back home in Salzburg. 

Neither Nancy Storace nor Mozart realized the implications of that 4th of July in 1776, and the impact that it would soon have upon them and the entire world, for good or for ill. Although both of them were a part of the generations of The Enlightenment, the concepts of liberty, equality, and freedom were still very distant and unrealized, especially for Mozart who was still enslaved within a theocratic feudal system. They would both live to see the American Revolution and for Mozart, only the beginnings of the French Revolution (which had dire consequences for his Austrian Princess, Maria Antonia, who was then, Queen Marie Antoinette of France), but it would still be generations beyond them before the full impact of it all would be felt. 

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