Str  /  AFP - Getty Images file
Books on Austrian musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria. The city will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the music genius' birth throughout the year, starting on Jan. 27.
updated 1/10/2006 3:23:22 PM ET 2006-01-10T20:23:22

Here's a bit of trivia for Mozart fans: He lived 13,097 days and spent 3,720 of them - more than 10 of his not quite 36 years - traveling to more than 200 European cities.

Now his native Austria, which celebrates his 250th birthday this year, is bracing for a crush of several million Mozart tourists. And while some might be tempted to retrace the composer's steps, most will converge on Mozart Central: Salzburg, the elegant city where the master was born.

All 22 of his operas will be performed at the Salzburg Festival next summer, July 21-Aug. 31. An enormous bash on Jan. 27 - the date of the composer's birth in 1756 - is expected to draw Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other dignitaries. And through the year, Salzburg will host 260 concerts and 55 Masses devoted to Mozart's sacred music.

The Salzburg house where Mozart was born serves as a museum with an eclectic mix of items that look like they came straight out of Tom Sawyer's pocket: a lock of hair, a violin string, mother of pearl buttons from his waistcoat, a snuff box, playing cards and notes he scribbled on his many journeys.

There are also more impressive items on display at Getreidegasse No. 9, including the violin he learned on as a child and a copy of a 1764 composition he wrote in his own hand at age 8.

Amadeus aficionados will have hundreds of events to choose from in other cities too, including New York, Paris, Berlin, London and Prague. On Jan. 27, New York's Metropolitan Opera will present a revival of last season's new Julie Taymor production of "The Magic Flute" and the New York Philharmonic will debut a three-week "Magic of Mozart" tribute.

In Vienna on Jan. 27, the city will officially reopen the painstakingly restored downtown house where Mozart wrote "The Marriage of Figaro." Austria's National Library is displaying the original - and seldom seen - handwritten score to "Requiem"; Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel in November presented a copy to Pope Benedict XVI.

Slideshow: A European tour Even the Vienna City Marathon has co-opted the composer; along the 26.2-mile course, costumed musicians will play Mozart sonatas to give the runners a lift.

Also in Vienna, Domgasse No. 5, one of a dozen places in the city where Mozart lived, has been preserved as a museum, and an exhibit about his work runs March 17-Sept. 24 at the Albertina, a Viennese palace.

Back in Salzburg, "Viva! Mozart," an exhibit of manuscripts, letters, paintings and other objects related to Mozart's life and times, opens Jan. 27 in the Carolino Augusteum Museum in the Neue Residenz. The Mozarteum Orchestra and the Salzburg Chamber Soloists are offering a series of 29 weekend concerts of Mozart's work between February and November in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum.

Other attractions for Mozart pilgrims in and near Salzburg include Makartplatz, where the composer lived with his family as a young man and composed a number of his works; Mozart Memorial Place in St. Gilgen, a courthouse building that was once a family home, where Mozart's mother was born; and the Magic Flute Lodge, connected to the Mirabell Garden, where Mozart is said to have composed part of the "Magic Flute" after being cloistered there by his librettist to make sure he finished the piece.

If you go:

MOZART 250th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: and or call the New York office for Austria tourism, (212) 944-6880.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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