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Music in the air for Mozart

• The Hohensalzburg fortress in Salzburg
• The Hohensalzburg fortress in Salzburg

THIS YEAR marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Austria has planned a rich and varied calendar of events honouring the musical genius. The entire year will revolve around the musician. New museums are opening, operatic performances, concerts, festivals and galas are booked, and special exhibitions and discussion forums are planned in Salzburg, Vienna and all other places where his legacy lives on. The celebrations began on January 27.

In Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg, the Carolino Augusteum Museum will present a special exhibition, entitled Viva! MOZART, an international focal point of the Mozart Year celebrations. One of the highlights on display will be the original copy of K.1, the first of Mozart’s compositions to be listed in the famous Köchel catalogue and a document that has been hidden from public view for decades.  Between June 23 and August 31, the Salzburg Festival will feature performances of Mozart’s entire oeuvre of 22 works for the musical stage – all his operas, singspiels and other dramatic works from Apollo et Hyacinthus, which was his very first venture into the operatic realm at just 11 years of age, to the works of his mature years, such as The Magic Flute and Titus.

In Vienna, the newly renovated Mozarthaus Vienna will be open to the public for the first time. Mozart lived there when he wrote The Marriage of Figaro and the perfectly preserved apartments offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the composer’s world – his immense genius and creativity, his family, friends and foes in the Vienna of the late Baroque era.

Both towns also offer plenty for those who are less interested in classical music. Vienna boasts an array of world-class museums, the famous Lipizzaner white stallions, fantastic restaurants and lively bars, great shopping and beautiful architecture.

Visitors to Salzburg will also find plenty of things to do. You can explore the locations featured in The Sound of Music, filmed here in 1964, savour a few Salzburger Mozartkugeln (balls of pistachio flavoured marzipan, rolled in nougat cream and dipped in dark chocolate) and take a cable car up to the Hohensalzburg fortress, the majestic castle that overlooks the city.

Both Vienna and Salzburg are great short haul destinations, whether you’re gripped by Mozart mania or not.