Sylvia Milo wrote and created the one-woman show The Other Mozart after she happened to notice a family portrait with Wolfgang seated at the keyboard with his sister. The play, with her elaborate 18-foot dress as its visual centerpiece, explores the life of Maria Anna Mozart, known as ‘Nannerl,’ who was as famous as her brother when they toured Europe as children.
You can find out more about the show at the Hammer Theatre website.
She was in Vienna for the celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday several years ago, when she happened into the museum, which used to be a former apartment where Mozart lived with his family. She was leaving when she saw the painting. “There he was at the keyboard, and next to him was a woman, playing together on the same keyboard, their hands intertwined. And I knew this was not Constanze, the wife. And so I started researching who is this sister?” She was his closest friend and musical partner growing up, and yet she’s rarely known by the general world. “She was missing from his story. And the more I researched, the more I realized what a loss that was for us not to know about this brilliant sister. Earlier the children toured together throughout all of Europe. There were two wunderkind, there were two child prodigies. And somehow we erased her from his story.” So Milo endeavored to recreate her world – with her prodigious talents, and the constraints she had to live within. “The idea started with ‘What is Nannerl’s world? Where does she exist?” The dress became her world because of the fashions of the times, which were so luscious and grand for women. There had to be double doors for women to enter, because the skirts were so wide. And the tallness, the lavishness, and the hair design. So we wanted to bring that sensibility of this grandeur and beauty, but as well as the restrictions that they placed on women.”