Mozart &
Material Culture


Opened on 14 March 1741, the K. K. Theater an der Burg was the official court theatre in Vienna. Before 1776, the theatre was leased by impresarios from the state; in 1776 Joseph II took over its direction, establishing a Nationaltheater there. From 1783, following the abandonment of Joseph’s German theatre project it was home to Italian opera, while the German opera company, reconstituted in 1785, moved to the Kärntnertortheater. During Lent, when opera was not performed, the Burgtheater served as a concert hall; during both Advent and Lent, the Viennese widows and orphans society (Tonkünstler-Sozietät) gave benefit concerts.


The Michaelerplatz, Vienna, facing the Burgtheater (engraving, early nineteenth century

Mozart Relevance

Three of Mozart’s operas had their premieres at the Burgtheater - Die Entführung aus dem Serail K384 (1782), Le nozze di Figaro K492 (1786) and Così fan tutte K588 (1790) – and in addition to his grand academy of 23 March 1783, Mozart also gave concerts there on 1 April 1784, 10 March 1785 and 7 April 1786. He frequently performed at the Burgtheater as a guest artist for his friends, including concerts by Therese Teyber (30 March 1783), Anton Stadler (23 March 1784) and Elisabeth Distler (13 February 1785). Mozart also performed at the benefit concerts of the Tonkünstler-Sozietät (Advent 1783 and Lent and Advent 1785).

Playbill for the original run of Cosi 1790-500.jpg

Playbill for the original run of Così fan tutte at the Burgtheater, 1790