The Surprising Age Mozart Wrote His First Opera

It is common in media for historical figures such as America's Founding Fathers to be depicted as middle-aged or even elderly when their most noteworthy achievements took place. Yet many such figures were far younger than most realize. According to Slate, in 1776 many of those aforementioned founders were only in their 20s and 30s, while across the ocean, King George III was only 38. Decades later, Napoleon Bonaparte earned fame for his defeat of Austria where two other French armies had been turned back, all at the age of 28. 

Wolfgang Mozart was no exception to this phenomenon of youthful accomplishment, having become a renowned musician and composer in childhood before passing away at the age of just 35. 1767, in particular, was the year Mozart saw the first opera he had written staged. The 11-year-old prodigy's career only improved from this moment on, as he was subsequently sought after for his prodigious musical gifts (via Mental Floss). Despite his youth, Mozart already had several achievements to his name and expressed a talent so captivating that many actively refused to believe it.

From early childhood, Mozart was virtually raised by music

Mozart had an impressive career by his mid-childhood, albeit not at the international levels of fame he would eventually achieve. According to France Musique, Mozart had written more than 50 pieces before the age of 9, and for three years, he and his comparably talented sister, Nannerl, played the violin for hours at a time for audiences as they toured Europe. They did so at the behest of their controversial father, Leopold, whose approach to parenting is still debated to this day. A year after the debut of Mozart's work, rumors began to spread that his father had written it, and that trickery was being used to pass off the work as his own since someone that young producing such a piece was unprecedented (via 

Mozart persevered in spite of the slander and at 13 was commissioned to compose and conduct music for the Salzberg court, an exceptional milestone for the time. Not unlike modern celebrities who got their start at an early age though, Mozart began to lose appeal as he entered into early adulthood as the apparent novelty of his earlier accomplishments wore off for some. His home life was upended by the death of his mother, and it wasn't until his subsequent 1781 move to Vienna that Mozart's career saw revitalization.