This is a faithful recreation of Mozart's life and time in slightly fictionalized form. The composer reminisces about surrounding events and the premiere of Don Giovanni. Richly hued watercolors reflect Ms. Downing's meticulous research into 18th century Europe and its customs.
- Jan Lieberman
This book abounds with the dynamic energy that was Mozart, the boy, the man, the composer. We meet the composer as he and Costanza, his wife, arrive by coach at the opera house in Prague for the first performance of "Don Giovanni." Then in flashbacks, we get glimpses of Mozart's life that bring us full circle to the finale of the opera when the composer is hoisted onto the shoulders of the performers. Ms. Downing's paintings, like Mozart's music, bubble with vitality, continuous movement, and joyousness. Even her text flows with the same pulse. "Roosters crowed, children laughed, and maids gossiped by the fountain. I listened as a chorus of voices rang through the street, and my mind filled with music."