Mozart &
Material Culture


Ballonist, scientist and adventurer. Blanchard — following in the footsteps of balloonists Pilâtre de Rozier, Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert — made his first successful hydrogen balloon flight in Paris on 2 March 1784. He subsequently toured Europe and was the first to demonstrate balloon flight in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Poland.

Jean-Pierre Blanchard (London, 1785)

Jean-Pierre Blanchard (London, 1785)

Mozart Relevance

On 6 July 1791 Mozart wrote to his wife: 'This very moment Blanchard is either going up in his balloon — or else will fool the Viennese for the third time' (he successfully flew for one hour from the Prater to the village of Enzersdorf near Vienna). Mozart was at the time working on Die Zauberflöte K620. Blanchard's flight may have inspired the scene at the start of the act I finale of the opera where the three Genii descend to the stage in a balloon.

Date 1
1753, Les Andelys
Date 2
1809, The Hague
Date (Mozart)
Location (Mozart)
Bibliographic Reference
Coutil, 1911

Pages referencing Blanchard, Jean-Pierre (1753-1809):

1791, Vienna : Pierre Blanchard's hot-air balloon