The Vienna of Mozart’s Last Aria

Mozart died in his apartment on Rauhenstein Lane. The house is gone, but if you stand with your back to the department store now occupying that location, you see just what he’d have seen. This is Ballgasse, or Ball Lane. It took its name from the indoor tennis court which used to be on its corner.


Mozart was buried in St. Marx Cemetery, a 10 minute tram-ride from the edge of old Vienna. This marker was put up in his honor, but no one knows where he lies. His bones are somewhere under the grass behind the tombstone. The land was reused for later graves.

Built between 1753 and 1755, the Academy of Science has an elaborate hall used for concerts by Haydn among others. In MOZART’S LAST ARIA, Nannerl takes part in a charity concert here for Wolfgang’s widow and meets Baron Swieten.

The Frauenhuber is a famous old cafe and this is its even more famous “Haustorte.” It’s not as sweet as it looks, and it’s quite delicious. The Frauenhuber is on the ground floor of a building on Himmelpfortgasse, where it intersects with the end of the street where Mozart lived his final days. Wolfgang gave concerts on the next floor up, in what used to be Jahn’s Coffeehouse. In MOZART’S LAST ARIA Nannerl meets Prince Lichnowsky at Jahn’s. They eat something a little like this Haustorte…Well, who could resist?

This building on Herrengasse, or Herren Lane, used to be the seat of the Police Ministry and some other government offices in the period of MOZART’S LAST ARIA. Outside this gate, the novel’s climactic scene takes place…

The original building in which Mozart wrote and premiered “The Magic Flute” no longer exists. But this building, which is still called the Theater an der Wien and continues to operate as a theater, stands in its place, a short walk from the center of Vienna.

The plaque notes that on this spot, until 1849, stood the house in which Mozart died. It’s on Rauhensteingasse, or Rauhenstein Lane, in a very central neighborhood of Vienna. Not sure the plaque would encourage anyone to buy an expensive bit of luggage from that window…

The entry to St. Michael’s Church, just across the square from the Emperor’s palace. Here, Schikaneder and others premiered Mozart’s Requiem, after the maestro’s death. MOZART’S LAST AIRA also has some scenes here and in the crypt below it. You can visit the old tombs down there, which include corpses mummified by the dry air and still wearing period costume. Steel yourself for the dead bodies with a spot of hot punch from the stall outside.

In 1722, the Emperor ordered a massive palace library to be built for the Hofburg. Johann Fischer von Erlach designed this magnificent hall. Baron Swieten, one of Mozart’s greatest patrons, was head librarian. Several scenes of MOZART’S LAST ARIA take place here, including Nannerl’s concert for the Association of Cavaliers.

In what’s now known as the Neuermarkt, or New Market, there’s this fountain depicting Providence. Behind is the inn where I have Nannerl stay in MOZART’S LAST ARIA. At that time, the square was called the Flour Market.

My wife and son hard at work researching MOZART’S LAST ARIA at the coldest time of the year in Vienna. Behind them is the Staatsoper, the State Opera House, which wasn’t there when Mozart was around. I saw a perfect production of “The Magic Flute” there. Usherettes circulate with chocolate petit fours during the intervals. You can eat them on the balconies outside.