Mozart Operas in Facsimile
Reactions by Musicians

“What an extraordinary occasion: the publication of all seven of the great Mozart operas in autograph-facsimile editions of the highest quality, and at a reasonable price that can make the whole series accessible to all Mozart lovers—professionals, students, libraries, performing organizations, audiences—indeed, everyone!”
—James Levine

“I am overjoyed that this important facsimile edition of the Mozart operas could finally be realized. A tremendous dream of musicians has come true!”
—Nikolaus Harnoncourt

All lovers of Mozart have reason to rejoice at the forthcoming appearance of “Mozart Operas in Facsimile”—in beautifully produced multi-volume bibliophile editions available at an astonishingly low price ($175 per opera) thanks to the Packard Humanities Institute. For scholars, conductors and musicians in general this will bridge a deplorable chasm in their access to these evergreen masterpieces. Not many of us had ever clapped eyes on the complete score of a Mozart opera (other than Don Giovanni in Paris) until the early 1980s, the point at which the precious missing portions of Così, Figaro, Die Entführung and the whole of Die Zauberflöte—all relocated in eastern Europe ‘for safe keeping’ during World War II—were rediscovered and admitted to. All those frustrating lacunae, the gaps in notation and uneasiness over the correct sequence of numbers as printed in the Neue Mozart Ausgabe scores (their worthy editors not having had access to the complete material) could now be verified (or at least checked) by reference to the autograph scores. Yet to study the autograph, say, of Così, you still needed to travel to Krakow to view Act I, and then back to Berlin for Act II. Now, thanks to this new facsimile edition, the opera manuscripts can be perused at leisure, all contained within the bindings of consecutive volumes. Instances of reappraisal—of potential revelation, even—are too numerous to mention. The recovery of the last two acts of Figaro provides just one priceless example: here for the first time one can trace the sequence in which Mozart composed the individual arias and scenes—as distinct from the order in which they appear in the score—and begin to reconstruct the various stages of their inclusion, their revision and perhaps a putative ‘ideal’ sequence in the composer’s mind. Even if no hard and fast conclusions can be reached, the physical evidence—of layers of composition and reordering—is there for scrutiny. What solace, what bliss!
—John Eliot Gardiner, July 2007