While not one of Mozart's best operas, Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail(The Abduction of the Seraglio) is the second best of his "Singspiels" after Die Zauberflote(The Magic Flute) is fun as a comedy and drama and while not the best example of either in opera it has a good balance between the two. His music doesn't disappoint either, being characteristically beautiful and tuneful. The DVD competition for Entfuhrung is mostly good, with the best being the Valerie Masterson/Willard White, Edita Gruberova/Francisco Araiza and Georg Solti-conducted productions. The only ones that didn't work were the 2006 Salzburg and 2008 Amsterdam productions. This production is one of the better ones available. It is not the most ideal and it is a condensed and incomplete performance but what there is of the production is done so splendidly. Even with the condensation, the story still makes sense, the comedy sparkles, the main situations are intact and the best arias and moments are kept in. Visually it is remarkably authentic, the Turkish locations, palace and costuming look gorgeous and so rich in colour. The photography and picture do nothing to hinder that, quite crystalline actually, and the sound is equally excellent. The staging manages to be both funny and poignant as well as intelligently handled, especially Blonde teaching Osmin the art of love. The Chamber orchestra give the music its depth and stylistic elegance and Charles Mackerras' conducting is efficient yet accommodating. Yelda Kodalli looks and sounds beautiful, and is also charming and determined while Desiree Rancatore is a witty and vocally angelic Blonde with technical security. Paul Groves is not the greatest actors, but he is emotive and sings with such warmth and Peter Rose, singing with robust sonority, is both hilarious and sinister as Osmin. Overall, everything is done so splendidly that you can forgive that it is not a complete performance of Entfuhrung. Oh and the behind the scenes stuff regarding the filming and staging is fascinating. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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