Diana Wortham Theatre (DWT) presents The Other Mozart on Wednesday, March 15, and Thursday, March 16, at 8 p.m. The monodrama, created and performed by Sylvia Milo and directed by Isaac Byrne, is the untold story of Maria Anna (nicknamed Nannerl) Mozart, who was a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso, composer and sister to Amadeus. The performance is based on facts, stories and lines pulled directly from the Mozart family’s humorous and heartbreaking letters.
“The world has long celebrated the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” says Rae Geoffrey, associate director of D W T. “However, little is known of his sister. Also a child prodigy, her immense gifts were never shared with the world due to the societal restrictions and prejudices that too often affected women.”
Nannerl performed throughout Europe with her brother, receiving top billing at times until, at age 18, she was no longer permitted to tour because she was considered eligible for marriage. She was known as an excellent harpsichordist and pianist and is also known to have composed music. Written correspondence in which Amadeus praised her composition and encouraged her to continue composing is the only evidence of her music known today.
“Audiences seem to appreciate experiencing this Mozart, whose voice was silenced, speaking to them and sharing her complicated story,” says Milo. “It’s a story that is still relevant.”
Original music was written for The Other Mozart by Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen for instruments Nannerl knew intimately, such as clavichords, music boxes and bells, as well as teacups, fans and other ordinary objects that might have captured her imagination. The play also includes music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Marianna Martines, a female composer who inspired Nannerl.
The Other Mozart, in addition to an Off-Broadway run in New York in 2014, has toured extensively in the United States, including at the Cherry Lane Theatre and Lotos Club in New York; in Europe at venues such as the Mozart Wohnhaus and the Neue Residenz in Salzburg, as well as the St. James Theatre in London and in Toronto. The show has garnered two New York Innovative Theatre Awards. “The story is beautiful and multi-sensory,” says Geoffrey. “Sylvia Milo’s re-creation transports the audience into the world of this famous family. Audiences fall in love with Nannerl and learn how much history can be changed, forgotten or lost for the wrong reasons.”
The Other Mozart is a DWT Mainstage Series performance as well as part of the Asheville Symphony’s Asheville Amadeus Festival.
Diana Wortham Theatre is at 2 South Pack Square, in Asheville. The Other Mozart tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for students and $20 for children. Ticket holders are invited to free pre-performance discussions at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets at dwtheatre.com or by calling 828.257.4530