Mozart's famous Singspiel (an operatic genre with much recitative; the title is German for the Abduction from the Seragalio), after Christoph Friedrich Bretzner's work "Belmonte und ... See full summary »
Mozart's famous Singspiel (an operatic genre with much recitative; the title is German for the Abduction from the Seragalio), after Christoph Friedrich Bretzner's work "Belmonte und Constanze", comes to life in the sumptuous setting of Topkapi, the Ottoman sultans' own Istanbul seraglio (palace harem). Belmonte finds his fiancée Constanze and her English maid Blondchen ('Blondie'), who were captured and sold by pirates, in the Meditarranean seraglio of the Ottoman pasha (military lord) Selim. Belmonte's servant Pedrillo gets him engaged as builder. After Selim tried to enforce himself upon Konstanze, Pedrillo and Blondchen, his own sweetheart, prepare their flight, managing to get Osmin, the pashas overseer, drunk. Yet Osmin and Selim's guard still capture them, already in the garden; however the touching display of true love melts the pashas heart, so he lets them go. Written by
The best in my view are the 1980 Salzbug and especially the Masterson-White-Watson Glyndebourne performance of the early 80s. This production is very good and one of the better ones. I don't the opera is one of Mozart's best story-wise but it is very interesting and the music while among his most challenging is still outstanding. The production works on a visual level. The sets are not the most beautiful I've seen, but they are serviceable enough I feel. The costumes are sumptuous with Belmonte and Konstanze having the most beautiful.
The music is stylishly and conscientiously performed by the orchestra, the chorus are well balanced and animated and the conducting is brisk and never too broad. The staging especially for Martern Alter Arlen is very effective, in this scene you do feel Konstanze's defiance and desperation, and the comedy is what it should be, funny. Of the performances, my favourite was Malin Hartelius, she is a beautiful woman with a wonderful, agile voice and she is a great actress, one of the better Konstanzes for me.
Klaus Maria Brandeuer is a suitably intimidating Selim but he also here proves to be a good listener and admires Konstanze's spirit. Piotr Beczala is one of the more promising tenors today to me. I don't think his Belmonte is as good as his Ottavio(Don Giovanni) and Edgardo(Lucia Di Lammermoor), Ach Wie Angstlich sounded rather fatigued to me, but he does otherwise sing the best he can, he's musical and he is very communicative and sympathetic as an actor.
Alfred Muff is a funny and ominous Osmin, his voice is rich if occasionally under-powered in the lower register and his acting meets the demands of the role very well(I think of the roles of the opera Osmin and Konstanze are the most difficult). Ha Wie Will Ich Triumphieren is solid if nothing extraordinary. Of the rest of the cast, Pedrillo contrasts well with Beczala's Belmonte and Blonde is very witty.
So overall, I enjoyed it very much especially for Hartelius. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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