Mozart &
Material Culture


A tenor soloist, Adamberger made his operatic debut in Munich in 1772 and from 1772-1775 sang in productions at Modena, Venice, Florence and Rome, among others. He was active at the King’s Theatre, London in 1778 and 1779 and subsequently joined Joseph II’s Nationaltheater in Vienna, where he made his debut in August 1780. Following the disbandment of the Singspiel company in 1783, Adamberger sang with the Italian company in Vienna, returning to the Singspiel company when it was revived in 1785, and returning to the Italian company again in 1789. He retired from the stage in 1793..

Adamberger c1785.jpg

Valentin Josef Adamberger, silhouette, Vienna c1785 (Vienna, Wien Museum]

Mozart Relevance

Adamberger created the role of Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail K384 (premiered 16 July 1782) and on 26 September Mozart wrote to his father describing how he composed the aria ‘O wie ängstlich’ expressly to suit Adamberger’s voice:

    Now for Belmonte’s aria in A major. ‘O wie ängstlich, o wie feurig’, do you know how it’s expressed? – Even his beating, loving heart is indicated – by the 2 violins in octaves. – This is the favourite aria of all who’ve heard it – and of me too. – It’s written entirely to suit Adamberger’s voice. You see the trembling – vacillation – you see his breast begin to swell – which I’ve expressed with a crescendo – you hear the whispering and sighing – which is expressed by the first violins with mutes and a flute playing in unison with them.

Mozart also wrote the arias ‘Per pieta, non ricercate’ K420 (21 June 1783) and ‘Misero! O sogno – Aura che intorni spiri’ K431 (December 1783), the part of Herr Vogelsang in Der Schauspieldirektor K486 (1786) and the cantata Die Mauerfreude K471 (20 April 1785) for Adamberger.

Date 1
1740-02-22 Rohr or Munich
Date 2
1804-08-24 Vienna