Josepha Weber
Josepha Weber (later Josepha Hofer, Josepha Mayer; 1758 – December 29, 1819) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...

 of the classical era
Classical period (music)
The dates of the Classical Period in Western music are generally accepted as being between about 1750 and 1830. However, the term classical music is used colloquially to describe a variety of Western musical styles from the ninth century to the present, and especially from the sixteenth or...

. She was a sister-in-law of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, and the first to perform the role of The Queen of the Night in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

(1791) and Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder , born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien...

’s and Winter’s sequel Das Labyrinth oder der Kampf mit den Elementen (1798). She was as well the first to perform the role of Oberon in Paul Wranitzky
Paul Wranitzky
Pavel Vranický was a Moravian classical composer. His brother, Antonín, was also a composer.-Life:...

’s opera (1789).


She was born in Zell im Wiesental
Zell im Wiesental
Zell im Wiesental is a town in the district of Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated in the Black Forest, on the river Wiese, 26 km northeast of Basel, and 32 km south of Freiburg....

, in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, Germany, the daughter of Fridolin Weber. She had three younger sisters (in descending order of age): Aloysia
Aloysia Weber
Maria Aloysia Louise Antonia Weber was a German soprano, remembered primarily for her association with the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Biography:...

, who was an early love interest of Mozart and sang in his later operas; Constanze
Constanze Mozart
Constanze Mozart was the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Early years:Constanze Weber was born in Zell im Wiesental. Her mother was Cäcilia Weber, née Stamm. Her father Fridolin Weber worked as a "double bass player, prompter and music copyist." Fridolin's half-brother was the father of composer...

, who married Mozart in 1782; and Sophie. The composer Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school....

 was the son of her father's half brother.

Josepha grew up mostly in Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, and moved with her family first to Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 then to Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, following the singing career of her sister Aloysia. By 1789 she was the prima donna in the theatrical troupe run by Johann Friedel at the suburban Theater auf der Wieden
Theater auf der Wieden
The Theater auf der Wieden, also called the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden or the Wiednertheater, was a theater located in the then-suburban Wieden district of Vienna in the late 18th century...

. Following Friedel's death in that year, the theater was taken over by Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder
Emanuel Schikaneder , born Johann Joseph Schickeneder, was a German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer. He was the librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and the builder of the Theater an der Wien...

, who retained her in the new company he formed. She appears to have been an important member of the troupe: the collaborative opera Der Stein der Weisen, a sort of ancestor to The Magic Flute, includes no arias for coloratura soprano because at the time it was written Hofer was on maternity leave.

At the (highly successful) premiere of The Magic Flute in 1791, Hofer took the role of the Queen of the Night, a famously demanding coloratura part. She continued to perform this role until 1801, when she relinquished it at age 43.

She married twice. Her first husband (married 21 July, 1788 in St. Stephen's Cathedral) was the musician Franz de Paula Hofer (1755–96). Hofer was employed as of 1789 as a violinist at the Imperial court. Her second husband (1797) was the singer Sebastian Mayer
Sebastian Mayer
Sebastian Mayer was a bass singer and stage director of the Classical era.-Life:Mayer was born at Benediktbeuern. In 1793, he joined the theater company of Emanuel Schikaneder....

 (1773–1835). Mayer was the first to perform the role of Pizarro in Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

's opera Fidelio
Fidelio is a German opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto is by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and for the 1804 opera Leonora...


Josepha Mayer retired from singing in 1805, and died in Vienna December 29, 1819.


Of her singing, the New Grove says, "According to contemporary reports, she commanded a very high tessitura
In music, the term tessitura generally describes the most musically acceptable and comfortable range for a given singer or, less frequently, musical instrument; the range in which a given type of voice presents its best-sounding texture or timbre...

 but had a rough edge to her voice and lacked stage presence." The former quality equipped her to take on the very difficult coloratura
Coloratura has several meanings. The word is originally from Italian, literally meaning "coloring", and derives from the Latin word colorare . When used in English, the term specifically refers to elaborate melody, particularly in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and...

passages that Mozart wrote into the Queen of the Night's part.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.