Mozart in Italy

Jane Glover

05 October 2023
288 pages


'You don’t have to be able to hum Mozart to find this book utterly engrossing . . . I couldn’t put it down' - Joanna Lumley

An expertly researched and vividly written account of Mozart’s formative trips to Italy.

At thirteen years old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy who had captured the hearts of northern Europe, but his father Leopold was now determined to conquer Italy. Together, they made three visits there the last when Mozart was seventeen, all vividly recounted here by acclaimed conductor Jane Glover.

Father and son travelled from the theatres and concert salons of Milan to the church-filled streets of Rome to Naples, poorer and more dangerous than the prosperous north, and to Venice, the carnivalesque birthplace of public opera. All the while Mozart was absorbing Italian culture, language, style and art, and honed his craft. He met the challenge of writing Italian opera for Italian singers and audiences and provoked a variety of responses, from triumph and admiration to intrigue and hostility: in a way, these Italian years can be seen as a microcosm of his whole life.

Evocative, beautifully written and with a profound understanding of eighteenth-century classical music, Mozart in Italy reveals how what he experienced during these Italian journeys changed Mozart – and his music – for ever.

You don’t have to be able to hum Mozart to find this book utterly engrossing. As a fan of both the fabled composer and Dame Jane Glover, Mozart in Italy is a match made in heaven. I couldn’t put it down.
An account of the teenage Mozart’s operatic awakening is packed with humanising detail . . . [Glover] makes clear that Mozart lived very much in the real 18th-century world of dirt, illness, bedbugs and discomfort, not permanently wrapped in some fuzzy golden halo of brilliance.
Mozart in Italy is a fascinating account of classical music’s greatest failure – a story of promise unfulfilled, opportunities missed and roads not taken.