From Publishers Weekly
Despite this book's title, Mozart was no ladies' man. The loves in his life add up to his mother, Maria Anna; his talented sister, Nannerl; a cousin known as "the Bäsle"; the four Weber sisters, all singers, and one of them, Constanze, his wife; and, naturally, the women in his operas and the divas who sang the roles (these included the Webers). In this latest of many Mozart biographies, Glover, a leading conductor of 18th-century music, views Mozart's life through the women who surrounded him, though no biographer could avoid Mozart's micromanaging father, Leopold. Mozart's first crush may have been on his cousin, and the second was certainly on Aloysia Weber, who firmly rejected him (and later regretted it). But Mozart's marriage to Aloysia's younger sister seems to have been entirely happy. The book's best and most original part of this work offers a close analysis of the operas, especially of the female roles and the women who inspired them; the discussion of Così fan tutte is especially good. Though Glover is not an inspiring writer, the analyses of operas will interest some people, and the work will find an audience among loyalists. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Glover, a respected British conductor, views Mozart through the women in his life: his mother; his sister and sometime duet partner, Nannerl; his wife, Constanze Weber; and the female singers for whom he wrote roles that are "some of the most vividly drawn and brilliantly understood women on the operatic stage." Mozart seems to have had more in common with the happily domestic Figaro than with the brilliant seducer Don Giovanni, and knew how to appreciate a talented, vivacious, and resourceful woman, as Glover illustrates with many touching excerpts from his correspondence. However, after Mozart's death, in 1791, her book begins to drag as she follows the lives of his survivors; Constanze remarried, completing her second husband's biography of her first, and lived until 1842. The book's title notwithstanding, much of the first half is dominated by Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang's authoritarian and manipulative father, who emerges as probably the most significant person in Mozart's life.
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker