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Sorting Through Hype of Vienna's Mozart Year

May 19, 1991|MARC FISHER | WASHINGTON POST FOREIGN SERVICE

You can find Mozart quotations to back up any excess you wish to justify. After all, this is the bawdy fellow who packed his letters with crude descriptions of bodily functions and loved to talk dirty, especially when it was most likely to offend some stuffy official.

That rough side of Mozart is easily found in his letters, but the more casual observer can get a sense of it from the excesses of this year's celebration--crass marketing and silly product lines that probably would have appealed to the composer's cynical side.

And for those who get no joy from the camp of modern excess, Vienna has laid on enough performances to satiate any listener.

Over the course of the year, many of the world's top conductors will be part of the Vienna Mozart celebration, including Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Ricardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim and George Solti.

Weiser should be proud of the program he has arranged. Instead, he is near tears as he runs through the list. "The Mozart year is overshadowed by the death of the only man who could have told us something new about Mozart," the organizer says. "Leonard Bernstein was at my house and he sang from 'Figaro' to show me how Mozart wrote as manly a music as Bach. He shouted at me, 'Mozart was a man.' He could have taught that to all of us."

GUIDEBOOK: Mozart Events Worthy of Note

Vienna's yearlong celebration of Mozart includes:

Exhibits:

--"Magic Sounds," main historical tribute, Kuenstlerhaus, until Sept. 15.

--"Requiem," Austrian National Library, Thursday through Dec. 5

--"The Sound of Mozart," display of original instruments, scores and recordings, with occasional concerts, Hofburg. Daily except Tuesdays, through Oct. 27.

--"Mozart 1791-1991," Musikverein, daily except Sundays, Nov. 19-Jan. 4.

Concerts:

--Mozart Festival, Musikverein, all year, with a lineup of top international conductors and soloists.

--St. Michael's Church, 10 a.m. masses on Sundays all year.

--Palais Auersperg, Mozart trios with Viennese coffee and cake, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 4:30 p.m., all year.

--Vienna Festival, Konzerthaus, international music festival with the theme "Mozart and Modernism," through June 17.

--Summer of Music, in the courtyard of City Hall and various palaces, with free showings of filmed operas and symphonic works as well as concerts. June 26-Sept. 2.

--Mozart Festival, Konzerthaus, Nov. 24-Dec. 20.

--The Requiem, Vienna Philharmonic, led by Georg Solti, at St. Stephan's Cathedral, Dec. 5.

Opera:

--Volksoper, Thursdays, five Mozart operas in German, all year.

--Vienna State Opera, two Mozart seasons: through June 8, Sept. 1 to year's end.

--Theater an der Wien, Claudio Abbado conducting "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," through June 6.

For more information: Contact the Austrian National Tourist Office, 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2480, Los Angeles 90025, (213) 477-3332.

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