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THE OTHER MOZART, a look through the glass ceiling, opens at Shea’s 710 Theatre

THE OTHER MOZART is a play with incidental music concerning the true, but forgotten, story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Wolfgang (“Wolfi”) Amadeus.  Five years older, she was herself a child prodigy, a keyboard virtuoso, and a composer, performing for royalty throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim. Her story has been lost to history. Researched, written and performed by Sylvia Milo, it’s on stage at Shea’s 710 Theatre (710 Main Street, Buffalo, 14202 at the corner of Tupper, the old “Studio Arena Theatre”) this Thursday through Sunday, May 4 through May 7. Runtime is 75 minutes without intermission, Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00, and Sunday afternoon at 2:00.

It’s no secret that for centuries it has been difficult for women to simultaneously pursue a career in general, and especially one in music. Some famous examples include Clara Wieck, wife of Robert Schumann, who was a famous touring concert pianist, but was expected to also be the primary care-giver for the Schumann’s children. Alma Schindler, wife of Gustav Mahler, was told by her husband that there was only room for one composer in the family, and that was going to be him. American composer and pianist Amy Marcy Cheney, who after marriage was known by her husband’s name as Mrs. H.H.A. Beach, was forbidden by said husband from performing in public. In our time, it has only been recently that the famous Vienna Philharmonic has allowed women in their ranks. Our own BPO maestra, JoAnn Falletta, is a source of international curiosity, since the number of major female music directors can be counted on the fingers of one hand. As they say “the exception proves the rule.”

While life was often hard for the Mozarts, this is not a depressing play. In fact, it celebrates the life of a forgotten genius – Nannerl – ‘the other Mozart.’

So, one day while touring the apartment (now a museum) where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived in Vienna, Sylvia Milo noticed a small family portrait wherein she saw, sitting at a harpsichord next to Wolfi, a woman with a fabulous hairdo. Curiosity took hold and this led to research and the discovery that “Mozart” had a sibling who was his equal in every regard. Her family nickname was “Nannerl.” However, when she turned 18, Nannerl was duty bound to prepare herself for marriage and to cease the unseemly (for an eligible woman) pursuit of serious music composing and performing. The fascination with the fact that there was an “other” Mozart ultimately led to the play that is on stage this weekend.

In conversation Sylvia Milo recounts what life was like for Nannerl and, in part, for the entire Mozart family, forced to travel frequently to find employment, often getting paid in gifts, and not the hard cash they needed. While life was often hard for the Mozarts, this is not a depressing play. In fact, it celebrates the life of a forgotten genius – Nannerl – “the other Mozart.”

Written by Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall continues trying to figure out how "it" all works. For Classical 94.5 WNED and on-stage with the Buffalo Chamber Music Society he's conducted over 1,000 interviews with artists to get at answers. On “Theater Talk” his favorite question of co-host Anthony Chase is simply "What's goin' on?" In every situation he's in Peter wonders: "What's the big picture here?" And, "if I had to teach this, how would I break it down to explain it?"

That's why he loves writing reviews. A show with a strong message that makes him laugh and cry and think about life is a good show. Heard Friday mornings at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on WBFO 88.7 FM "Theater Talk" repeats Saturday afternoons at 5:55 p.m. on Classical 94.5 WNED, the radio station where Peter is currently the afternoon drive host as well as producer and host of “Buffalo Philharmonic Live” (Sundays at 5 p.m. repeating Fridays at 10 p.m. on WNED). For the Buffalo Chamber Music Society he moderates on-stage pre-concert chats with the artists and is on-stage host of the Falletta (classical guitar) Competition.

Peter holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo. For twenty-five years he has been an adjunct professor for Canisius College’s Richard J. Wehle School of Business. He is currently a member of the "Artie Awards Committee."

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