“Mozart and his family occupied an apartment on the first floor of this building from 1784 to 1787. Of Mozart’s 11 Viennese residences, this is the one where he is said to have been the happiest. It is also where he composed a significant number of his masterworks: the exquisite Hadyn quartets, a handful of piano concertos, and ‘The Marriage of Figaro.’ Restored for the anniversary year 2006, the Mozarthaus has exhibitions on two upper floors as well as the original apartment.”
The above is taken with minor modifications from one of my guidebooks and, unfortunately, was more information than most of that found in the house proper. The Mozarthaus is located almost adjacent to St. Stephens church. It contains three floors of exhibition space, with an audioguide provided with your admission fee. The tour starts on the third floor with the theme of “Vienna in the Era of Mozart” and continues down to the second with “Mozart’s Musical World” and finally ends with a brief description of the apartment itself on the first floor. The obligatory shops, learning center, and, obviously, an event room round out the offerings in the building.
This was a disappointment on several levels. First, the presentation was disorganized and made very little chronological or thematic sense. The amount of knowledge gained for time put in was incongruous. I found myself wandering around on each floor wondering where to go next or whether to leave. Second, there were very few legitimate artifacts from the time period. Somewhat oddly, pictures were not allowed which was funny as there wasn’t really anything to see most of the time. There was a brief “save” on the first floor with a small diorama on the furniture most likely to have been inside. Third, this probably would have been an average (3/5) attraction in any other city but in Vienna? I definitely have high expectations for perhaps the world’s greatest musical genius in a city he once called home. Unfortunately this reminds me of the Oktoberfest museum in Munich: a well-meaning but hastily assembled portrayal of an important local topic that will generate maximum revenue. Here’s hoping that the powers that be put in the necessary time and effort to retool a museum of a quintessential Viennese subject.
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