Enjoying the Mozart Dinner Concert in Salzburg, Austria
Ever since watching the Academy Award-winning movie, Amadeus, I have been fascinated by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The film shines with Mozart’s brilliant music, and tells the sometimes humorous, sometimes sordid, and, in the end, tragic tale of the composer’s too-brief life.
So when my husband and I visited Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace and part-time residence of Mozart, I wanted to see all of the sites that could lay claim to a piece of Mozart’s history.
First, we toured Mozart’s childhood home, where he was born in 1756. Next, we visited the residence on Makartplatz where the Mozart family lived after outgrowing their previous home. Here we saw the original pianoforte on which Mozart played during some of his concerts in Vienna.
Dinner and Mozart Concert in Salzburg, Austria
My absolute favorite experience in Salzburg, however, was the Mozart Dinner Concert that we attended. I had heard rave reviews about the concert, which features songs from some of Mozart’s most famous operas. In addition to music, the event includes a three-course meal based on 18th-century recipes, and it all takes place amidst candlelight in an authentic Baroque Hall. It sounded too good to miss!
The Mozart Dinner Concert was scheduled to begin at 7:30pm, but we were told to arrive an hour early for the best seats. At 6:30 that evening, a formally-dressed maître d’ who spoke perfect English invited us into the Baroque Hall, and we were led to our front-row table.
The Baroque Hall of St. Peter
In a diary entry dated 1783, Mozart´s sister wrote, “Papa and Henry had lunch at St. Peter…made music…rained heavily.” I love this glimpse into Mozart’s life, and was thrilled to know his family had dined in St. Peter, where the Baroque Hall is housed, more than 200 years earlier. Imagine listening to Mozart’s music performed by world-class musicians in a room where the Mozart family themselves had enjoyed meals!
The elegant hall seems to have changed little since Mozart’s time, and is ornately detailed with stucco and colorful frescoes. Tables covered in crisp white linens face towards a small stage, and the entire space is softly lighted by candles set upon each table.
Shortly after our arrival, a couple from Virginia was given the two remaining seats at our table (private tables are also available). We were impressed that the maître d’ had made the extra effort to ensure that we were seated near other English speakers, and we enjoyed chatting with them before dinner was served.
Mozart Concert Dinner – First Course
Dinner started with our drinks of choice from a selection of beers and wines, as well as St. Peter’s bread served with local Austrian butter. Shortly before the concert began, we were served the first course, which was a delicate lemon chicken soup with a dollop of soft curd cheese, and rosemary dumplings. The clear broth was lovely, and I especially enjoyed the perfectly fluffy dumplings.
Mozart Concert – Part 1: Don Giovanni
With our plates cleared, the concert was ready to begin! Five musicians who were dressed in late-18th century costumes took their places upon the small stage. Next, a man and woman, also dressed in clothing contemporary to Mozart’s time, entered the hall.
The two vocalists began to sing a duet from the opera, Don Giovanni. Their voices rose to fill the hall, and every dinner guest sat in rapt attention. They were immensely talented, and I was stunned that their voices could so easily be heard throughout the hall, in spite of their not having microphones.
Our second course was served after the Don Giovanni arias and duets. It featured tender chicken breast roulade stuffed with a flavorful mix of quark (a mild European cheese), parsley and other herbs, all served on a glaze of red wine. Beside this was a delectable potato gratin, as well as locally-grown vegetables. Yum!
Mozart Concert – Part 2: The Marriage of Figaro
Once again, the musicians and opera singers returned to the room to woo us with a collection of songs from the comic opera, The Marriage of Figaro. Their first song, “Cinque, Dieci, Venti” was a sweet duet between Figaro and his fiancée Susanna, as they celebrated their forthcoming marriage. In addition to having beautiful, evocative voices, the singers had a wonderful rapport with one another, making each song into an enjoyable show.
Third Course – Dessert
During the next intermission, the waiters served us our final dish, an exquisite parfait with a slice of honeycomb, raspberry sauce, and cocoa powder. The parfait had a mild honey flavor that perfectly complemented the bittersweet raspberry sauce and cocoa. Everyone at our table finished with a clean plate!
Mozart Concert – Part 3: The Magic Flute
The final section of the Mozart concert featured arias and duets from my favorite Mozart opera, The Magic Flute. I loved listening to them perform the song “Pa-Pa-Pa,” a charming interplay between the whimsical characters Papageno and Papagena as they dream about their future, and the many children they will have together.
The Mozart Dinner and Concert was the highlight to our time in Salzburg. Our nearness to the musicians and singers, the warmly glowing candlelight, and the gorgeous Baroque Hall transported us to a time when we could have been listening to an intimate performance of some of Mozart’s most moving pieces, perhaps with Mozart himself conducting the performers.
If you’ll be visiting Salzburg, I would highly recommend including the dinner and concert on your itinerary. Whether or not you’re a fan of classical music and opera, you are sure to enjoy these talented and entertaining performers, as well as the scrumptious meal you’ll be served!
I would like to extend a warm thanks to the kind people at the Mozart Dinner Concert who generously allowed me to use their beautiful photos in this blog post!