Constanze Mozart Grave, Sebastiansfriedhof, Salzburg, Austria

Constanze Mozart Grave, Sebastiansfriedhof, Salzburg, Austria

The daughter of Mozart’s landlady in Vienna, Constanze Mozart was a character and a half.

Originally, Mozart had been interested in her older sister, Aloysia. But when Aloysia turned to singing (and another man), Mozart redirected his attentions. To avoid talk by the neighbors, his future mother-in-law made him move out while he was courting Constanze.

According to Maynard Solomon in Mozart: A Life, the wooing wasn’t easy. Constanze allowed another man to measure her calves in a parlor game; Mozart had trouble getting permission for the match from his father, Leopold. Eventually, they jumped the gun:

“All the good and well-intentioned advice you have sent,” Mozart wrote to his father, “fails to address the case of a man who has already gone so far with a maiden. Further postponement is out of the question.”

Leopold’s reluctant permission arrived the day after they were married.

Constanze had 6 children, only 2 who survived to adulthood. Although Mozart left her with crushing debts, she worked her way out of them, gaining a pension from the emperor and collecting funds from memorial concerts. She first lived with, then married, a Danish diplomat and died at the ripe old age of 80.