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Mozart: Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail [Import]
The celebrated three-act opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart comes to life in this dynamic performance at the world-famous Salzburg Festival. Director Francois Abou Salem brings a modern Middle Eastern sensibility to this journey into Arabian and Muslim culture, filtering the comic tale of abduction for today's audiences. Soprano Christine Schafer portrays Constanze, a woman whose heart is torn between her fiance, Belmonte (Paul Groves), and her new master, Pasha Selim (Akram Tillawi). A sensual and resoundingly modern experience, this new interpretation casts new light on a classic musical work and infuses it with aching human emotion.
Mozart's cute little comedy about the rescue of two kidnapped women from a Turkish harem is brilliantly sung and well acted in this production from the Salzburg Festival, but opinions will be divided on the direction and staging. Costumes and scenic details (blue jeans, barbed wire, feminist demonstrations) move the story up to the present time, and some additions to the original text reinforce its Levantine atmosphere. These additions include quite a bit of dialogue in Arabic, translated in the subtitles, like the German text, and some Middle Eastern dances, with non-Mozartian music supplied by Turkish musicians in the orchestra pit. "Turkish" sounds (mainly metallic percussion) were fashionable in 18th-century Vienna and were included in Mozart's score, so in a sense these additions simply reinforce Mozart's own idea.
All of the principal performers are excellent. Paul Groves (Belmonte) is that rarest of singers, a good Mozart light tenor. Christine Schaefer breezes through Constanze's vocal challenges. Malin Hartelius and Franz Hawlata give vigorous performances with lots of personality. --Joe McLellan
Top Customer Reviews
The first thing you'll notice is that this is done in a more contemporary setting, with modern clothes, styles, and concertina wire around the building. The Pasha wears a suit and tie, as does Constanze. Oh, and the Pasha preaches to his harem in Arabic (with English subtitles). This gives the production a more Arab perspective than is customary.
Blonde and Osmin are a delightful and playful couple who, by themselves could make this production a success. Constanze sings remarkably well, the "Marten alle Arten" aria beginning with four of the musicians on stage, each introducing the theme--a unique and effective touch.
This production ends, believe it or not, with the Pasha dancing as a sort of Whirling Dervish, but it fits and it works!
If you have never seen a production of the Abduction from the Seraglio, it might be better to start with the 2002 version done by Zubin Mehta and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, a more traditional Mozart.
This Salzburg production appeals more to those looking for "a different take." It's good, but it might be easier to start with a more basic, traditional version. This is well-done; it's just different.
LORD! What our Wolfie would have done for us today ..... such a funny, sad, uplifting and utterly POLITICALLY correct piece of art. [Remember the difficulties he had with the staging - the banning of the ballet, etc.]
The Cast spear-headed by the Dresden-like Christine Schafer and the never-disappointing Paul Groves [recently seen in LA - Berlioz 'Damnation of Faust'. The Salzburg version with Mr. Groves is available on DVD]. AND the rest of the highly professional cast - perfectly in harmony with this work.
NICE addition is the Turkish [NON 'WAM' music].
BUT it is the utter freshness of the cast dominated by the gentle Pasha and his Solomon like advice that remains long after the seats cool down. Very much a reflection of our times today ....
Most recent customer reviews
I had to buy this because schafer was in it. Her Constanze is uncomparable to any soprano who has done it. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2003 by nyc outsider
I agree with othere that this version is unconventional, but also hasten to point out that the performers are really great. Read morePublished on July 12 2003 by Charles W. Long
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