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Antonio Salieri – alleged main enemy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – 1750.

Antonio Salieri – alleged main enemy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – 1750.

In reality, there is no basis for a negative opinion of Salieri, let alone the assumption that he was the main culprit for Mozart’s death.

On August 18, 1750, Antonio Salieri was born, an Italian composer particularly famous for his work in Vienna. Salieri gained great, mostly negative, popularity among the general public because of the film Amadeus directed by Miloš Forman. In that film, Salieri’s character was played by F. Murray Abraham, who was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor for that performance. In the film Amadeus, which won a total of eight Oscars, Antonio Salieri is portrayed as the antagonist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who, out of envy, practically brings Mozart to the brink of death. Of course, the portrayal of Salieri’s character in that film is based on fiction (the film is based on Peter Shaffer’s earlier theatrical drama). In reality, there is no basis for a negative opinion of Salieri, let alone the assumption that he was the main culprit for Mozart’s death.

Antonio Salieri was born in the Italian city of Legnago, located southeast of Verona. At first, Salieri was educated in his native Italy, but already at the age of 15 he moved to Vienna. He continued his education there, and soon began to play at the court of Emperor Joseph II. (son of Empress Maria Theresa).

Although Mozart and Salieri did come into contact, especially at the court of Joseph II, there is no real basis for a theory of their hostility. They were, admittedly, competitors for individual jobs, but there is also evidence that they valued each other as composers. Salieri eventually outlived Mozart by almost 34 years. Namely, while Mozart passed away at the age of 35, Salieri lived to be 75 years old.

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