Law and Opera pp 119-133 | Cite as

Le Nozze di Wolfgang: About the Meaning of Marriage in Mozart’s Operas

  • Cesare FertonaniEmail author


Mozart assimilated the ethical, legal, and social values of the bourgeois marriage, which in the late eighteenth century presupposed that conditions for the union of a man and a woman were freedom and love and seemed to be the mediation between the instances of the individual, family, religion, and the state: these values correspond to the affirmation of the new code of sentimental love as opposed to the gallant and the courtly. Such assimilation is well documented in the letters. On February 7, 1778, Wolfgang, who at the time was in love with Aloysia Weber (considered by his father, Leopold, of a lower social class than the Mozarts), passionately supports the idea that a marriage should be contracted for love and not for money as often do aristocrats. On December 15, 1781, confessing to Leopold his love for the sister of Aloysia, Constanze, and therefore his decision to marry her, Wolfgang affirms his conviction that a bachelor lives only in half: “Ein lediger Mensch lebt in meinen Augen nur halb. Ich hab halt solche Augen, ich kann nicht dafür. Ich habe es genug überlegt und bedacht. Ich muß doch immer so denken.” Still, on November 4, 1787, Mozart, writing to his friend Gottfried von Jacquin, contrasts the pleasure of a fickle and capricious love (“das vergnügen einer flatterhaften, launigten Liebe”) to the happiness of true and reasonable love (“eine wahre, vernünftige Liebe”).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MilanMilanItaly

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