In the house of the Rofranos, money was of no object. Everything was of the highest quality – especially the music. In fact, the palace itself was, to quote one of its most famous visitors, “one of the most beautiful chords in the symphony ‘Vienna’”. Since this visitor was no other than the great Robert Stolz, it must be admitted that this opinion came from a competent judge.
Music was always the invisible hub of the palace, long before Richard Strauss wrote his opera with a Rofrano as the hero. In 1760, for example, the imperial field marshal Prince Joseph Friedrich Wilhelm of Saxony‐Hildburghausen moved in as a tenant. He was a knowledgeable music lover of great sensibility and infallible good taste, and engaged no less a personage than Christoph Willibald Gluck as the musical director of his famous house concerts. This was definitely a highlight in the musical history of the palace, but by no means the only one.
In March of 1786, it was the venue of a private performance of Mozart’s opera “Idomeneo”. The ensemble was comprised exclusively of members of Vienna’s high society, and included such famous names as Baron Pilini and Count Hatzfeld. Mozart, who revised the vocal parts to “suit the vocal chords” of his noble performers, composed a special “scena con rondo” with violin solo for this occasion.
Another famous figure of the Austrian nobility also took part in an amateur performance in this building: Crown Prince Rudolf, four years before his tragic end. At that time the palace had long since been purchased by Prince Auersperg, whose name it still bears today. The street on which it is located, too, is called Auerspergstrasse, in honour of Prince Adolf Auersperg, who was Prime Minister of Austria for eight years.
Under the ownership of the Auersperg family, the palace became a centre of high society, the scene of glittering parties and gala evenings. It was here, for example, that a granddaughter of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden was wed to King Albert of Saxony. And three years later, in October 1856, a dance was held which was attended by the 26‐year‐old Emperor Franz Joseph, his wife Elisabeth and all the members of the imperial family.
Palais Auersperg, Auerspergstrasse 1, A‐1080 Vienna, Austria, Google Maps