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KUAF Arts Beat: A Lavish 18-foot Gown as Symbol of Restriction in 'The Other Mozart'

Charlotte Dobre

When Sylvia Milo visited the Mozart home in Salzburg, Austria, she was struck by a small family portrait of a young woman alongside Wolfgang Amadeus also performing.

It opened a rabbit hole in search of Maria Anna Mozart, known as Nannerl, who it turns out, was also deemed a musical prodigy and toured alongside her much more famous brother until she turned 18.

Her curiousity led to the creation of the one-woman play  "The Other Mozart."

In digging through the Mozart family letters, Milo unearthed Nannerl's voice and journey in order to tell her story. She decided on a solo show to give Nannerl time front and center in the spotlight because history has "silenced her voice and I just sensed she had a lot to say."

Although only one actor takes the stage, there's also an 18-foot gown. The lavish dress serves as a symbol for the restrictions placed on women in 18th century Europe despite such opulence in dress and hair.

"Women in the 18th century wore these incredible gowns," says Milo. She mentions enormous wigs and massive panniers that present an oversized glamour. Yet the restrictions were horrendous.

"So, in a way, the women had such physical size but what they could do was so limited," Milo explains.
"So we had this dress for the lavishness of the period but also for the restrictions. The dress is heavy and it's hard to move in it."

Sylvia Milo presents "The Other Mozart" this Thursday, Mar. 7, at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

Hear her full conversation with Of Note's Katy Henriksen in the streaming link above.

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