Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail is to me not one of Mozart's best operas story-wise, but the characters are memorable especially Konstanze and Osmin and the music is while some of Mozart's most difficult with Martern Alle Arten and Ha Wie Will Ich Triumphieren is outstanding. This Glyndebourne performance is for me the best Entfuhrung, with the 1980 Salzburg performance with Gruberova and Talvela not far off.
Perhaps the Glyndebourne performance is not as visually sumptuous as the one for Salzburg, but the sets still look wonderful with a very airy and also realistic look to them, and the costumes are also good. The camera angles never distract, the picture quality is clear and sharp and the sound ranges from fine to serviceable.
From a musical point of view, this Entfuhrung excels also. The orchestra are exceptional, and Gustav Kuhn's conducting ensures that the production just whizzes by. The staging is nice and traditional, without ever falling into the trap of being static quality. The comedy is beautifully timed and always feels natural rather than forced or overplayed.
The performances are exceptional, with Valerie Masterson and Willard White the standouts. Masterson is one of the best Konstanzes I know of, she is delicious and very dignified to watch on-stage and her voice and technique are always secure with Martern Alle Arten superbly sung and more. White may lack some of the basso notes needed, Osmin is an incredibly difficult role because he is so sinister and the role requires low Ds and Cs even in the third act where everything's in danger of getting tired. However he is always commanding, and conveys the sinister and comedic sides of Osmin brilliantly, and his voice is as virile as ever.
Lillian Watson as Blonde is a breath of fresh air and she is very sexy. She also has a limpid soprano voice that is more than ideal for the role. James Hoback's young, college-boy-like Pedrillo is well sung and acted, and contrasts very well with the more earnest portrayal of Belmonte from Ryland Davies, also singing sweetly. Joachim Bissmeier is a good Pasha Selim, if not quite my definition of intimidating.
Overall, truly brilliant. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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