An interesting experiment and a quite fun production overall
Not the best production of Entfuhrung, that'd be between the ones Salzburg(1980) and Glyndebourne(1980). But it's not the worst one either, that dishonour would go to the 2006 production from the Mozart 22 series, 2008's was not good either. It was fun though and made the most of an interesting concept that was executed quite well if not perfectly. The production does look great definitely, but the spectacle can get in the way of the drama, Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail is essentially a drama with music but at times it did feel like too much spectacle, not enough story. Some of the staging comes across as forced, though most of it does surprisingly work(considering the dubious reputation concept productions can get), such as the stage business between Blonde and Pedrillo in the Act 2 quartet, it was quite funny but also too busy and didn't add very much to the scene. The woman lip-synching to one of Belmonte's arias while walking through the airport was also on the distracting side. Most problematic was the trio concluding Act 1 with Belmonte, Pedrillo and Osmin, in all fairness though it is common in a lot of productions of the opera(the drama of the scene itself could have something to do with it) in which Belmonte and Pedrillo always seem to get away from Osmin too easily. That problem occurs here and the constant backing and forthing between the three is both pointless and tiring.
As acknowledged though, the costumes and sets are really pleasing to the eye with lots of bold colours and it does work brilliantly within the concept, nothing garish or tacky here. And it looks every bit as fabulously on DVD with a sweeping cinematic touch in places. There are some clever shots here too, like looking as if Belmonte is being followed as he walks through the private jet, though it's not immediately clear whose it is but you can take a wild guess. The production staging-wise didn't bore me for a second(though the drama is not as convincing as the comedy, the latter of which not falling victim to being spectacle-swamped), it flies by, it's very entertaining a vast majority of the time and something is always happening. The touches with Pedrillo climbing into the fighter plane in Frisch zum Kampfe, Osmin tying Konstanze and Belmonte to propellers and Selim with a Hummer are fun to watch, and the ending as it should be is very lively and leaves you in a good mood afterwards(providing that you do get some enjoyment out of this). The production is pretty darn excellent musically, and the sound is crystal clear which allows us to properly enjoy Mozart's music.
The orchestra are beautifully balanced with lush textures, an excellent sense of style and the depth of the music comes through as well. The chorus are animated and sing with vibrancy and energy and the conducting accommodates the singers but keeps the music and story alive with secure musicianship as well. The performances are very good, especially from Javier Camerena as a lyrical and dashing Belmonte and Rebecca Nelson's confidently sung and spit-fire-like Blonde. Desiree Rancatore is affecting as Konstanze and on the whole sings with flexibility and assurance, though she has sung Martern Aller Arten much better than here where she was occasionally a little shrill. Kurt Rydl sounds wobbly at times but his Osmin is very funny and menacing and his low notes are still good. Thomas Eberstein is a charming Pedrillo with good comic timing, he sounds good often though over-sings a tad in a couple of ensembles. Bassa Selim's performer is appropriately formidable but with the odd sympathetic touch. Overall, a fun production that does a lot with a concept that was interesting and mostly cleverly executed. Is it flawed? Of course it is. Is it worth a look at least? Compared to how concept productions have been known, yes it is. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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