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Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail
Entführung aus dem Serail, Die (The Abduction from the Seraglio)
  • 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.


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