It’s one thing to hear a performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, but quite another to stand in the very room where he wrote it. Welcome to Mozart’s apartment in Vienna.
- The real deal – Mozart’s actual home in the 1870s
- Period layout and décor with info displays
- Suited to: those interested in Mozart’s life
- Part of the Mozarthaus building
- See also:
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Inside Mozart’s apartment
The Mozart apartment occupies the first floor of the wider Mozarthaus complex that also includes a special Mozart-related exhibition as well as displays on late 18th-century Vienna and the maestro’s broader musical world.
(Portrait of Mozart by Carl Meyer; early 19th century. Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)
Mozart and his family occupied the apartment from 1784 to 1787, which represents the longest period of time he stayed in one place in the city.
Located so close to Stephansdom cathedral, this must have been a fairly high-class rental address, with some six to seven rooms around the open atrium and staircase at the centre of the house.
Sadly, Instagram was somewhat underdeveloped back in the 1780s, so our records of the apartment’s look and contents are scanty. But careful research means the layout and décor is as authentic as it can be.
Unfortunately, none of the original furnishings belonging to Mozart survive, but each room contains a representative item of furniture from the correct historical period. And the location offers plenty to compensate for the absence.
I’ll come to the contents, but it’s all about history…
- Look out a window and see more or less the exact same view Mozart would have seen almost 250 years ago
- Stand in a room where Mozart’s pen flew across the page, releasing the overture to the Marriage of Figaro into the world
- Skip the lift (if able) and climb the stairs to the first floor. Run your hands along the handrails and you touch the same wood that Mozart did as he rushed out to give a concert
- Wander through the room where Mozart took up a viola, nodded to his father on the violin and played – for the very first time – the final piece in what would become known as the Haydn quartets. All while Haydn was watching
An impressed Haydn then tuned to Leopold Mozart and said:
…your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person and by name.”
The words echo down the decades: clearly Haydn knew what he was talking about.
So that’s all you really need to know: this is the spiritual home of all classical music. (Allow me a little poetical exaggeration.)
Now, aside from all that, you learn many tidbits about Mozart’s life, too. Information displays include both German and English, with an audioguide as part of your ticket. You’ll also find a few items and memorabilia scattered through each room.
(The street outside the apartment)
You’re not going to learn a huge amount, but it’s about the experience, not necessarily the education. For example, little personal details bring you closer to the man:
- The copy of a handwritten note on an exercise sheet for a pupil
- The inventory from his final residence, with the two most expensive items the pianoforte and billiard table (seems apt, no?)
- The slew of images of Mozart himself: some authentic, some not. But the authentic ones leave the impression of a man driven with energy and imagination
The copies of six pages of sheet music that represent Mozart’s average daily output made the biggest impact on me. As a novelist and someone several levels down from that level of genius, I know what maintaining that intensity of creativity must have taken in terms of blood, sweat, and/or inspiration.
Tickets & visitor tips
- Do really look out the windows. It’s hard to believe that a modern city has managed to keep that view more or less intact for over 200 years.
- The Mozarthaus’s Bösendorfersaal is one of many venues in Vienna that host concerts rich in Mozart’s music, including (if you’re lucky) performances of pieces actually composed in the Mozartwohnung.
- For more Mozart-related locations in Vienna (including his grave), see this handy guide and map.
How to get to the Mozartwohnung
Again, check the main Mozarthaus article for directions.
Address: Domgasse 5, 1010 Vienna | Website