- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Singspiel in three acts. 1782.
- Libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner, adapted and expanded by Gottlieb Stephanie.
- First performance at the Vienna Burgtheater on 16th July 1782.
|Selim, Pasha ||speaking part|
|Konstanze, a Spanish lady ||soprano|
|Blonde, her English maid ||soprano|
|Belmonte, a Spanish nobleman ||tenor|
|Pedrillo, his servant, now the Pasha's gardener ||tenor|
|Osmin, overseer of the Pasha's house ||bass|
|Klaas, a sailor ||speaking part|
|Mute, servant of Osmin ||silent rôle|
Belmonte seeks his betrothed, Konstanze, who, with her maid Blonde, is held prisoner by the
Pasha. Pedrillo, now forced to serve as the Pasha's gardener, tells him that the Pasha loves
Konstanze, but will not force his attentions on her. He introduces Belmonte to the Pasha's service
as an Italian architect, any access to the palace always obstructed by Osmin, who has his own
designs on Blonde. She, however, knows very well how to deal with him. Belmonte, with Pedrillo’s
help, plans to abduct Konstanze from the seraglio, but they are caught, much to Osmin's delight.
The Pasha, however, exercises clemency, the more praiseworthy in that he now knows Belmonte’s
father to have been his enemy and the cause of his own exile. All ends happily for Belmonte and
Konstanze, Pedrillo and Blonde, who are allowed to sail away, much to Osmin's chagrin.
Mozart's Singspiel, his first stage work for the Vienna theatre, after he had settled in the city in
1781, makes use of fashionable Turkish elements, with the necessary percussion and piccolo
appearing at the outset in the brilliant overture. In a score of overwhelming richness of invention,
Osmin's folk-song Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden (The one who has found a lover), obstructive in
its intention, is matched by his later hopes of revenge, Ha, wie will ich triumphieren (Ha, how I'll
triumph). Konstanze is given two immensely demanding arias, as she laments her fate, Traurigkeit
ward mir zum Lose (Sadness will be my lot) and the testing Marten aller Arten (All kinds of torture).
Belmonte opens the first act with a short aria, Hier soll ich dich denn sehen (Here should I then see
you), sings of his love in O wie ängstlich, o wie feurig (O how troubling, how ardent) and has a
charming serenade, as a signal for escape, in Im Mohrenland gefangen war ein Mädchen hübsch und
fein (In the land of the Moors there was imprisoned a girl, pretty and lovely). Blonde too has her own
moments, particularly in the scenes in which she repulses and teases Osmin, one of the great comic
characters of opera.