EDWARDS – In 1777, 21-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was charming at best. Once a child prodigy, the composer was all grown up, not very handsome and still being supported by his parents.Ironically, his situation sounds like a contemporary quarter-life crisis. But as history shows, Mozart was just a starving artist on the brink of finding true (and immortal) success. “Mozart’s life at [that] age had a particular charm for me,” said Stephanie Cowell, former opera singer and author of Marrying Mozart.
His personal conflict, sometimes irritable personality and several romantic interests intensified during this time. And those make for great subjects in Cowell’s historical novel, which she will discuss this Thursday evening in Edwards. “He was struggling to make money with his work, and he also was lonely and wanted love and a wife,” said Cowell. “This was the period in which he first met the four charming Weber sisters, all good musicians … and all very pretty.”It was these sisters for whom Mozart wrote many arias and songs. Inspired by their specific voices (and their good looks), he wrote the “Queen of the Night” from “The Magic Flut for Josefa” and the “Great C Minor Mass” for “Constanze.” But it was for Aloysia Weber that Mozart composed some of his best soprano vocal writing.
“Her voice opened like a heart in love, and she became one with the notes,” Cowell writes in one scene, where Aloysia sings a piece Mozart has written for her. “She was not reading the song; she became it.”A professional singer herself, Cowell feels a special connection to her characters. “I know in my sleep what you have to do to sing those difficult arias,” Cowell said. “When you’re singing something really well, it’s like you’re inventing it.”Born into a family of artists and painters, Cowell grew up in a creative – but not necessarily musical – environment. Still she found music early.
“My family was forced to become more musical after I discovered Mozart’s operas at the age of 12,” Cowell remembers. “I played the recording of “Le Nozze di Figaro” so often everyone memorized it.”While her passion for notes on a page inspired Marrying Mozart, it sounds like readers can expect a different historical work from Cowell in the future. She is currently working on the final draft of a novel about a beautiful artist’s model that falls in love with the 25-year-old Claude Monet – another starving artist on the verge of immortality.”It’s a very passionate story about love and art,” she said. “Most people know Monet as the old man in his garden. At 25, he was absolutely gorgeous and sexy and brilliant, of course, and he didn’t have a penny.”
For more information about Cowell’s event or to reserve your ticket contact The Bookworm at 926-7323.Vail, Colorado
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