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The best opera video I have seen of Mozart's "Abduction from the
Seraglio," with a fine young cast, with good voices but without big
reputations, Sir Georg Solti ably conducting the Covent Garden
orchestra, and with Elijah Moshinsky's subtle and moving production,
which brings out the strain within the Enlightenment values of the
Abduction, for those who don't know it, is a youthful work, like The Magic Flute a comic Singspiel with spoken dialog, and indeed the characters and themes are similar to those of The Magic Flute.
Like Sarastro, the oriental pasha is an Enlightenment prince; he loves Kostanze but surrenders her to her European lover Belmonte because he knows that love cannot be constrained. And as in The Magic Flute, the principal soprano has marvelous melodies to sing and needs great flexibility of voice.
I love opera and Mozart, and while not his best Die Etfuhrung Aus Dem Serail is so worth a listen, especially for Martern Aller Arten and Ha! Wie Will Ich Triumphieren and for the character of Osmin. I find myself more receptive to the 1980 production, despite Bohm's slow tempi, however this is a terrific performance regardless. The costumes and sets are suitably sumptuous, the story sparkles as does the humour and the music is brilliant and beautifully performed and conducted. The picture quality and sound are above average, and the stage direction is lively without feeling overdone. The performances are truly terrific. Belmonte is beautifully sung if a little stiff on occasions, Oliver Tobias is an imposing Pasha and Inga Nielson a beguiling- in looks and voice- Konstanze. Best of all are Lillian Watson's vocally impressive and commanding Blonde and Kurt Moll's wickedly funny and ominous Osmin(and he nails the low D in Ha! Wie Will Ich Triumphieren). Overall, terrific. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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