Touring play ‘The Other Mozart’ portrays feminist themes at SUNY Oswego

OSWEGO, N.Y. – SUNY Oswego educated students on the lesser known sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the suppression of women’s voices through the one-woman play “The Other Mozart,” which was performed on March 23.

In addition to the performance of the play, actress Daniela Galli and stage manager, hairstylist and makeup artist Kodi Milburn hosted an open discussion the afternoon before, which was attended by theatre students and faculty members. Milburn and Galli gave a presentation that was initially made by the creators of the show, which was written by Sylvia Milo. They also allowed time for students and faculty in the audience to ask questions about the performance. Many who attended were theatre students.

The play was a part of ARTSwego’s spring programming. ARTSwego seeks to offer “high-quality arts programs that enhance the cultural environment of the college and augment academic offerings.” ARTSwego performers also typically host presentations, masterclasses, or workshops for students to learn more about the performances that they are seeing.

“The Other Mozart” is about “telling the true, forgotten story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus – a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim, but her work and her story faded away, lost to history,” according to its website.

Nannerl Mozart had to stop performing because “it wasn’t proper for women to display themselves in that manner,” Milburn said at the discussion. She added that none of Nannerl Mozart’s compositions survived. Nannerl also orchestrated some of her brother’s compositions as well as writing her own.

The play partially seeks to “justify some of the decisions [Nannerl Mozart] made,” said Milburn, because “it may seem like Nannerl kind of gave up on her dreams.” She described Nannerl Mozart’s life as “a quiet fight.”

Artemis Doyle, a freshman majoring in theatre, attended both the presentation and the play on March 23.

“I really liked the show,” Doyle said. “…It was like sitting in a history lesson, but a fun one, because she’s acting through it … and it’s just really fun to watch.”

Galli, in playing the part of Nannerl Mozart, also took on other characters in imitating them, such as Nannerl’s parents and Wolfgang himself.

Since none of Nannerl’s music survived, two composers collaborated to write original music for the play, Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis, who are both contemporary classical composers. The music makes use of everyday items, such as teacups and bells, as well as music boxes. The performance also uses compositions from    Marianna Martines, Leopold Mozart and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“It was a massive undertaking to voice a woman that was lost,” Milburn said.

The show uses a minimalist set and takes place only with only a large dress full of pockets to store the actress’s props. As the play progresses, the actress slowly becomes closer and closer to putting the dress on. It serves as a representation of the feminine role that society expects her to assume. At the end of the play, she finally does, and exits the stage under the weight of the garment.

“Being born as a woman, it is, you know, very hard to be seen through the crowd of men, and I really connected on that kind of level with [Nannerl] as she’s in the shadow of her brother,” Doyle said. “And it’s not that she’s jealous of her brother, she’s jealous of the situation that she’s been put into.”

The play has been performed a total of 316 times and in four languages, according to its website. In addition to the United States, it has also been performed in seven other countries including in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s former apartment and home in Austria. For further information about The Other Mozart, including the locations and dates of performances, visit             Future ARTSwego performances for the semester include the Symphoria Woodwind Quintet on April 12 and saxophonist Alexa Tarantino on May 3. To learn more about ARTSwego, visit