Mozart's Irish Connection

It’s St Patrick’s Day this week, the day to celebrate all things Irish. Everyone loves the Irish and has an Irish connection, even Mozart. One of his favourite tenors and good family friends was the Irishman Michael Kelly (1762 -1826). In his memoirs Kelly spoke of "the immortal Mozart and his charming wife". He described how Mozart “… always received me with kindness and hospitality. He was fond of billiards and many a game have I played with him, but I always came off second best”

                                     Michael Kelly square

Theo Mortimer writes that “  Whilst Mozart was composing the opera  (The Marriage of Figaro) Kelly called on him and Mozart introduced him to a duet he was currently writing. The two sat down and sang the duet, Crudele perché finora. Kelly afterwards could proudly claim to have been the first person to hear the duet and also to have sung it with the composer. He also left vivid descriptions of the rehearsals where Mozart was on stage keeping time, dressed in a crimson pelisse with a gold-laced cocked hat, and who often cried out with pleasure as he first heard the singers interpret his glorious music.” 

Kelly performed in the premiere of the Marriage of Figaro, conducted by Mozart himself. It was a remarkable experience that the singer would always remember with affection.