Sylvia Milo as Nannerl Mozart in THE OTHER MOZART
I’ve been following some of the posts here about challenges of producing/performing in solo performances, and I wanted to share the experience I had earlier this year when I went to New York and I had a chance to see “THE OTHER MOZART”, written and performed by Sylvia Milo. This play is the story of Nannerl (yes, that is the real spelling of her name) Mozart, the sister of Amadeus – she was a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, and performed throughout Europe with her brother. I had never heard of her, although I recall seeing her portrait in a painting with her brother and father some time ago.
It was one of the best things I have ever seen – and I’m still thinking about this play, months later.
Sylvia performed the piece in a stunning 18-foot dress (designed by Magdalena Dabrowska from the National Theater of Poland). The original music was written for the play by Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen – featured composers of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, BAM and the International Contemporary Ensemble – for the instruments Nannerl knew intimately, such as clavichords, music boxes, and bells, as well as teacups, and fans.
The performance was held in one of those New York black box performance spaces, with creaky folding chairs surrounding a rather ratty looking stage. But the vision and creative ingenuity to produce this piece really affected the audience; and I still remember the intense curiosity and focus that we felt watching this story unfold in front of us.
This interview gives some background on Sylvia’s journey to create and produce this story: Article in The Guardian September 8,2015: The Lost Genius, the other Mozart
This show won several awards this year, and I would encourage you to see it if you get the chance. Here is more information on this production: The Other Mozart website
Mozart family portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce