The Ingenious Prank Music Legend Mozart Played On Someone He Couldn’t Stand
The classical composer humiliated someone he found to be offensive and annoying with his music
Hundreds of years after he last walked the earth, prolific composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is still synonymous with classical music, his more than 600 compositions still beguile and entertain the masses around the world. In addition to be a refined artist, he was also a bit of a jokester and liked to have fun at the expense of others. This included an ingenious prank he once pulled in the form of a song on a person he could not stand.
Mozart was born in Austria and packed a lot into a short life. Passing away in 1791 at the age of 35, he was a veritable fountain of talent, producing jaw-dropping music with seeming ease. His rare understanding of notes, timing and instruments all contributed to his genius.
According to 20th century British music critic William Mann, Mozart once used his expertise to perform a prank in the form of music. The composer is believed to have strongly disliked Adriana Ferrarese de Bene, a prima donna and mistress of Lorenzo Da Ponte, a composer who collaborated with Mozart on multiple operas.
Cosi Fan Tutte was a two-act opera created by Mozart and Da Ponte. First performed in 1790, the lead role of Fiordiligi was specifically written by Da Ponte for de Bene, who Mozart found insufferable. It’s said he detested her cocky demeanor and often displaying boorish diva behavior.
In a display of dynamic pranking, Mozart devised a brilliant way to make a fool of de Bene. He was aware that she had a habit of dipping her head on low notes and thrusting her head up high on high notes. Accordingly, he supposedly wrote the music for her role with a constant and dazzling array of notes going from low to high and high to low. The result was the songstress bobbing her head like an exaggerated chicken during her performance, which no doubt tickled the music legend and audiences of the performances to no end.
Cosi Fan Tutte translates to “women are like that.” Part of what made this prank so devastatingly brilliant was not only the title and manipulation of the music to make the actress look foolish, it was…